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Accountable Governance, A Key Variable In The Formula Behind Rwanda’s Unique Success Story

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Rwanda is a small, landlocked country in East Africa. Over the past two decades this small country has risen, against all odds, to become one of the great success stories of the continent.

This achievement has been unique in two ways – one is that it has been driven by Rwandans and two that these achievements are sustainable.

In 1994 the great people of Rwanda experienced one of the greatest disasters in human history – The 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Over 1 million lives were lost and the nation was totally destroyed. The post genocide period of Rwanda remains an exceptional success story in history of the world.

Over the past 25 years Rwandans have strived to achieve harmony, common purpose and sustainable growth.

As a nation we have strived to respect and preserve the dignity of every citizen of Rwanda.

The Government has been able to transform the society in the key areas of human development, health care, education and general standard of living.

People often ask me – “How has Rwanda been able to achieve this seemingly impossible feat?”, “What has Rwanda done that other countries have simply failed to do?”, “How did the Government of Rwanda reconstruct the state that had been decimated by the Genocide?”.

The answer to this and other questions is simple. The Nation of Rwanda solved the problem of Accountable Governance.

This concept is underpinned by three aspects. 1) A Nation must have a Vision. 2) A Nation must have a Strong Governance framework and 3) A Nation’s leaders Must be accountable.

The last point is very important because this is what separates Rwanda from other Nations in the region that have Visions and Governance frameworks but whose leaders are not accountable.

In order to provide a proper analysis of the Success of Rwanda people need to understand how these three aspects of Accountable Governance have been understood and applied in Rwanda and what has been achieved.

A Clear Vision

A clear Vision is binding. We, as Rwandans, share a common vision for Rwanda. We believe that the country has one destination that all must push towards. This common Vision has been emphasized by the leadership. Through this the Nation was able to bring together all pro-Rwanda forces from all over the world to put their efforts together and rebuild the Nation after the Genocide.

A Strong Governance Framework

The Governance system originates from the Rwandan culture. The traditional social structure of Rwandese society believes strongly in integrity, honour and accountability. This influences how Rwandese behave in positions of authority. An office is a place to serve and not a place of privilege. Good Governance is non partisan and in Rwanda this means that leadership rises above politics, party, tribe and religion. Leadership simply means doing what is best for Rwanda and its people.

To change the history of Rwanda, HE Paul Kagame, the President of the Republic of Rwanda, introduced a new model of governance. This model is centered around ACCOUNTABILITY and is reinforced by strict adherence to rule of law. There is zero tolerance for corruption and other poor leadership manifestations.

All public institutions are required to fully implement all proposals to strengthen accountability to the people of Rwanda. Instruments such as Imihigo Performance Contracts, public finance management systems, decentralization Governance program and citizen participation approaches were introduced and made functional.

The governance approach in Rwanda is unique in that every aspect that concerns the well-being of the people is a priority.

These homegrown solutions have facilitated the development of performance evaluation measures that track whether the national development performance targets are achieved in an efficient and effective manner.

This Governance structure not only measures service delivery but also describes progressive change in behaviour of the leaders and citizens of Rwanda. The measurement system also provides a mechanism for evaluating the overall transformation of the Rwandan society.

Leaders who are accountable

In Rwanda political will is targeted towards resolving those issues that hinder achieving local and National development targets. If the development targets aren’t met as planned, the leaders owe the president and the citizens an explanation on what delayed the process and their proposed plan of action. All leaders must be accountable at all times, at all levels and to all citizens of Rwanda.

Leaders are required to explain the status of the development initiatives that were entrusted to them in public forums. During these forums leaders explain to the citizens how they are going to resolve challenges and contribute to the development of Rwanda. The practice has changed the way leaders operate and deliver on their mandates.

They, the leaders, knowing that if they don’t fulfill their promises to the citizens there will be consequences and repercussions, must promptly provide an accurate account of their activities.

This policy has been driven from the top and the President himself is subjected to the will of the people. He always accounts. Imihigo and Umushyikirano are national platforms where an honest dialogue is held between the national leadership and the citizens on an annual basis to discuss what has been achieved verses failures.

These public forums also provide an opportunity for the State to interface with the Citizens without having to wait for the election period.

On an annual basis the State gets a chance to react to the needs of the people. The citizens not only learn about their rights but also participate in selecting what the state must do to improve the quality of life in Rwanda by setting relevant development priorities.

By doing so the government instils in the people of Rwanda the culture of working and participating in public programs but also improving their readiness to claim for services they are denied by their leaders.

This system of radical, transparent accountability has maintained the discipline of the political class. This has kept them grounded and focussed on delivering the National development targets. The successful implementation of this accountability system is the key difference between Rwanda and other states and is a major contributing factor to the Development of this great Nation.

Key results

Over the past 25 years this great Nation has registered successes in the areas of Education, Health and Human development. Despite having limited natural resources and a population challenge where by 50% percent is under 20 years old. Rwanda managed to effectively use donor aid and build a culture of self reliance that has enabled the Nation to finance its national budget.

Rwanda has invested in its human capital development with the great vision of becoming a knowledge economy.

Over the past 25 years  Rwanda has recorded increased access to education. In 2016, the primary pupils had increased more than 2.5 times and secondary 10 times more than in 1995. The tertiary institutions had also increased more than 6.5 accounting for the same period.

One of the other successful projects the country has introduced is the  universal health care programme that has been scaled up to cover over 80% of the population – significantly improving health care services in the country. The annual contribution premium is standard across the board.

However, the most poor households in the lowest wealth quintile are subsidised by the state. As a result of the programme, under five mortality rates have dropped from 196 per 1000 born in 2010 to 50 per 1000 born. The number of mothers dying while giving birth has fallen from 1,071 per 100,000 in 2000 to 210 per 100,000.

Over 1 million people have been lifted out of poverty since 2010. One of the major contributors to this has been the successful implementation of the Social Protection Policy whose programmes have improved the quality of life in the country.

Some of these programmes include the Vision2020 Umurenge Programme, one cow per poor family, Ubudehe programme and other massive infrastructural investment programmes such as access to clean water, renewable energy, improved sanitation and access to health facilities and markets.

The other core programmes enjoyed by the citizens include peace and security that has been supported by the country’s approach to unity and reconciliation after the 1994 Genocide.

Gender equality success stories in Rwanda have become a best practice for many countries and the National child protection programme has been recognized as one of the best in Africa.

The current National Strategy for Transformation (NST) is aligned to the Vision 2030 and comes at the right time when Rwanda has changed the development approach to embrace globalization. Technology usage and continuous innovation have been embedded in the National Development agenda at all levels.

Several multinational companies have been established in Rwanda. These companies have supported the great idea of inventing and working in Rwanda. This initiative has created thousands of jobs for the youth and has enabled Rwanda to be the technology hub of East Africa.

Conclusion

Rwanda has been defined as a success story across the world. Her story is unique and incredible. The credit for the Rwanda’s success goes to the leadership of HE Paul Kagame and the Rwanda people who rose above the bad politics that led to the Genocide to create a better Nation for all.

Some people like to debate about the vision of Rwanda as Ambitious but I like saying, “Yes the vision of Rwanda is ambitious but achievable because we set the pace on which we deliver”.  The unique approach of Governance and Accountability, that has brought us to this point, shall guide us to achieve even more in the new decade and the vision 2050 ambition.

 

ABout the authors:

FRANCISCA MUJAWASE

Francisca Mujawase is a Rwandan female Statistician specializing in Social Protection Financing. She works as the Manager of Research and Evaluation at The Romeo Dallaire Child Soldier Initiative. Prior to joining The International Labor Office (ILO) in the Kigali Offices, she served as the Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor for a USAID funded project in Rwanda.

DIDAS KAYITARE

Didas Kayitare is a Rwandan Economist specializing in Social Protection Financing. He currently provides technical support to the Ministry of Finance and Economic on planning and budgeting. In his previous assignments he worked for Rwanda Social Security Board as the Director of Risk Management and Compliance and later served in the local government.

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Rwanda Police Chief Briefs 240 Officers Ahead Of S. Sudan Deployment

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The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Dan Munyuza, on Tuesday, March 9, briefed 240 police officers set to be deployed for peacekeeping duties under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

The pre-deployment briefing of the hybrid Formed Police Unit-One (FPU-1) contingent was held at the Rwanda National Police (RNP) General Headquarters in Kacyiru.

The contingent commanded by Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Faustin Kalimba, will replaced the same number in Malakal, Upper Nile State where they will be largely charged with protection of civilians in internally displaced camps, UN personnel, security of key installations and humanitarian assistance, among others.

IGP Munyuza urged the officers to use their experience and the high level of training acquired to execute their peacekeeping mandate effectively.

He further reminded them that they will work with other peacekeepers from different countries and they will have to exercise respect of diversity.

“Learning will be continuous throughout your tour-of-duty, use your experience to build on what your predecessors achieved, cooperative with other peacekeepers in the mission area and respect the people under your protection as well as their culture,” IGP Munyuza emphasized.

He urged them to keep up the good conduct and protect the image set by previous contingents adding that ” you are representing your country, be at the best of your performance.”

“Your country and Rwanda National Police in particular, have full trust in you, resilience and sacrifice are key. Remember, your conduct and professionalism will depict the image and values of Rwandans, ensure your performance is exceptionally good and maintain the same spirit to the end of your mission,” said IGP Munyuza.

The Police Chief reminded them that Rwandan peacekeepers are defined by their professionalism, discipline, teamwork, integrity, values and alertness, and urged them to keep the momentum to “maintain and protect the image and reputation.”

He emphasized that respecting each other and their superiors in particular, discipline, hard work, teamwork, dignity and respect for diversity are strong guiding values and principles which will help them towards mission excellence.

IGP Munyuza appealed to the officers to maintain the spirit of supporting others and to engage in human security activities with the local people they are mandated to serve.

‘’Participating in human security activities is our culture as Rwandans, you should not only conduct peacekeeping duties just to maintain peace and security. It goes beyond that as our tradition to work towards the overall wellbeing of the people,” IGP Munyuza said.

As the wolrd is still faced with the pandemic of COVID-19, the Police Chief reminded them to always observe all health guidelines including wearing face masks, avoiding shaking hands, washing hands and practicing social distancing, among others.

This will be the sixth rotation of FPU-1 hybrid since the first one was deployed in South Sudan in 2015.

It is also one of the three Rwandan FPU contingents currently deployed in South Sudan.

Currently, RNP maintains over 1000 police peacekeepers in various UN missions, including six contingents serving in UNMISS and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

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Chinese Companies Win Tender to Construct Railway From Mwanza to Isaka 

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The Standard Gauge Railway from Mwanza to Isaka in neighbouring Tanzania will be constructed by two Chinese Companies that have won a lucrative tender for this job.

Prof. Palamagamba Kabudi Tanzania’s foreign minister said on Thursday during a presser on the eve of the Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi’s two-day visit to Tanzania.

The Mwanza-Isaka railway stretch will cover a distance of 341 kilometres and construction is estimated to cost TShs3 trillion will be handled by China Civil Engineering Construction (CCEC) and China Railway Construction Company (CRCC).

The Tanzanian government through the Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC) is constructing a 2,561Km SGR network that links Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Kigoma, Katavi and neighboring countries of Rwanda, Burundi Uganda and DRC.

The over Sh7 trillion project is being implemented in phases with the first round covering 202km between Dar es Salaam and Morogoro, was initially scheduled to be ready by November 2020 but heavy rains disrupted construction works.

Construction of the first and the second phase is being undertaken by Turkish construction company, Yapi Markez.

The first phase will have six main stations at Dar es Salaam, Pugu, Soga, Ruvu, Ngerengere and Morogoro, with the Dar es Salaam and Morogoro stations being the largest.

The second phase which is under implementation involves 422km between Morogoro and Makutupora in Singida with the project set to be completed within 36 months at a cost of $1,924 billion.

The railway is East Africa’s fastest and will use electricity to move trains will travel at 160km per hour and transport 10,000 tonnes of freight which is equivalent to 500 cargo trucks.

Upon completion, the SGR project is expected to payback the investment value after 15 years.

In October 2020, Tanzania government signed $60 million (about Sh138 billion) contract with a South Korean firm to supply trains for the standard gauge railway (SGR).

 

The Citizen

 

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Trump Attacks Election Integrity As Biden Nears 270 Electoral College Votes

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President Donald Trump is testing how far he can go in using the trappings of presidential power to undermine confidence in this week’s election against Joe Biden, as the Democrat contender gained ground in tight contests in some key battleground states.

With his pathway to re-election appearing to shrink, Trump has advanced unsupported accusations of voter fraud to falsely argue that his rival was trying to seize power. Thursday’s moves amounted to an extraordinary effort by a sitting American president to sow doubt about the democratic process.

“This is a case when they are trying to steal an election, they are trying to rig an election,” Trump said from the podium of the White House briefing room.

The president’s remarks deepened a sense of anxiety in the U.S. as Americans enter their third full day after the election without knowing who would serve as president for the next four years.

His statements also prompted a rebuke from some Republicans, particularly those looking to steer the party in a different direction in a post-Trump era.

Electoral college magic number

Neither candidate has reached the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House. But Biden eclipsed Trump in Wisconsin and Michigan, two crucial Midwestern battleground states, and has been inching closer to overtaking the president in Pennsylvania and Georgia, where votes are still being counted. It remains unclear when a national winner will be declared after a long, bitter campaign dominated by the coronavirus and its effects on Americans and the national economy.

On Wednesday, The U.S.set another record for daily confirmed cases as several states posted all-time highs. The pandemic has killed more than 233,000 people in the United States.

Rising tensions

Biden spent Thursday trying to ease tensions and project a more traditional image of presidential leadership. After participating in a coronavirus briefing, he declared that “each ballot must be counted.”

“I ask everyone to stay calm. The process is working,” Biden said. “It is the will of the voters. No one, not anyone else who chooses the president of the United States of America.”

 

Biden’s victories in the upper Midwest put him in a strong position, but Trump showed no sign of giving up. It could take several more days for the vote count to conclude and a clear winner to emerge. With millions of ballots yet to be tabulated, Biden already had received more than 73 million votes, the most in history.

Trump’s erroneous claims about the integrity of the election challenged Republicans now faced with the choice of whether to break with a president who, though his grip on his office grew tenuous, commanded sky-high approval ratings from rank-and-file members of the GOP.

Lawsuits and late mail-in ballots

Trump’s campaign engaged in a flurry of legal activity to try to improve the Republican president’s chances, requesting a recount in Wisconsin and filing lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia. Judges in Georgia and Michigan quickly dismissed Trump campaign lawsuits there on Thursday.

Trump has held a small edge in Georgia, though Biden has been gaining on him as votes continue to be counted. The same is true in Pennsylvania, where Trump’s lead had slipped to about 22,000 votes — and the race is destined to get tighter.

One reason is because elections officials were not allowed to process mail-in ballots until Election Day under state law. It’s a form of voting that has skewed heavily in Biden’s favour after Trump spent months claiming without proof that voting by mail would lead to widespread voter fraud.

Mail ballots from across the state were overwhelmingly breaking in Biden’s direction. A final vote total may not be clear for days because the use of mail-in ballots, which take more time to process, has surged as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Trump campaign said it was confident the president would ultimately pull out a victory in Arizona, where votes were also still being counted, including in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous area.

The AP has declared Biden the winner in Arizona and said Thursday that it was monitoring the vote count as it proceeded.

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