Mr.Francois Uhagaze is the newly elected mayor of Huye district. Uhagaze, the former Executive Secretary of Nyamabuye Sector in Muhanga district in the Southern Province,replaced Aimable Twagiramutara who resigned his post early this year.
The mayor spoke to The New Time’s Paul Ntambara about his vision for Huye.
TNT: Who is Francois Uhagaze?
MAYOR: I am the former Executive Secretary of Nyamabuye Sector in Muhanga district.
My involvement in local government spans over four years. I have served in different capacities at district level since the local government reforms started in 2006 and currently I am at the helm of Huye district leadership.
TNT: There are some commentators who say that there has been minimal progress registered in the district. Results of the evaluation of performance contracts (Imihigo) attest to this. How are you going to bring about a turn around to these miserable postings?
MAYOR: It is true that results from the evaluation of Imihigo have not been impressive.
This can partly be attributed to the district leadership, the local population and the relationship between the two groups.
What is also evident is that the general attitude to work in the district is largely negative. Such a situation calls for strong leaders that will work closely with the local people. Meaning we need leaders who will rally them for development.
It is startling to find that many of our people still live in grass thatched houses.
This is not to say that all of them are poor but it is largely because most of them are lazy and resistant to change. The local leadership has also been weak in their mobilisation roles.
TNT: what do you suggest as a solution to this challenge?
MAYOR: We need to strengthen working relationships between the different levels and organs of the local administration.
We have started holding meetings between the public and private sectors so that we can have a common agenda on the development of the district.
On August 9, we shall hold a round table consultative meeting with all stakeholders and all friends of the district living in different parts of the Country. We shall brainstorm on how we can forge team spirit for the cause of developing the district.
TNT: The district boasts of hosting the National University of Rwanda and many other scientific and agriculture research institutions.Why have you not put to use these institutions for the purposes of development of the district?
MAYOR: It is true that we are home to all these institutions but what is evident is that there has been a poor working relationship between the district and these institutions. We have just been pointing fingers at each other, instead of coming together with a common agenda for developing the people we are all charged to serve.
We hope to iron out these bottlenecks in the August 9 meet.
TNT: Talking about investment in the district, early this year the districts’ main market was pulled down so as to pave way for the construction of a modern shopping arcade.
Three months down the road the plot remains undeveloped. People who earned a living from the market are surely not happy, what caused this delay?
MAYOR: Pulling down the market to pave way for the construction of a modern structure was a great idea but there came up other unprecedented issues in the execution phase of the project.
The investors (Ingenzi cooperative) are awaiting for a licence from the Rwanda Environment Management Authority. They have until August 5 to have started construction.
TNT: What happened to the Huye Investment group?
MAYOR: Discussions on its establishment are on going. The issue of the investment group will feature prominently in the August 9 round table consultative meeting with our stakeholders.
We have opportunities for investment especially in the tourism sector.
Our town is centrally located to attract people from the neighbouring cities of Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Bujumbura in Burundi.
The presence of the National University and big research institutions gives it another dimension.
TNT: Your message to the people of Huye
MAYOR: People need to develop a positive attitude towards work; we need to develop team spirit if we are to move this district forward.