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Part One: Top 10 Rwanda Government Institutions In Service Delivery

16 Min Read

There is nothing that describes President Paul Kagame’s presidency than his dedication to serve, a fundamental leadership tool that will define his legacy.

He even established an institution, the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB), to set minimum standards to guide institutions on measures to improve the quality of service. Based on the nature of services, institutions may develop standards that are specific.

According to RGB, these standards are mainly intended to enhance the culture of service excellence, facilitate self-assessment at institutional level and enhance professionalism in service delivery.

Additionally, the standards must promote the use of technology in service delivery and facilitate coordination, monitoring and evaluation of service delivery.

The quality of services remains a core desired outcome but combating corruption is the epitome of the fundamental to serve. Kagame’s legacy will definitely not be discussed without mentioning his fight against corruption.

Now, over the past years, RGB has been conducting surveys to assess how the public rates institutions on service delivery.

Taarifa, however, has taken a different dimension to this assessment. We meticulously assessed dozens of institutions, from the central level to the local level. The details of the rating came from how each institution delivers on its mandate from the time it was created. Note that all institutions are post-genocide creations.

Our parameters were both national and global. We looked at how public institutions operate within the perimeters of their mandate to deliver services that project Rwanda to its ambitious plans that have been defined in the country’s development blueprints; from Vision 2020 to Vision 2050.

Notably, these institutions have shortcomings. They still have a long way to go. They all need more capacity, more qualified personnel and more resources, including the President’s office.

Some institutions have not exhausted their abilities with the available resources at their disposal, but they arguably try their best. The list here means these institutions fall under the category worth a praise, but not an endorsement for the mediocrity that still exists in their daily activities.

Those who did not find themselves on the list should take it as a wake-up call for improvement and not a vote of no confidence.

We will begin with the top five in this article and the next five will be in the second article.

1. Presidency

This institution has earned itself a reputation of the most efficient. Armed with possibly the best skilled personnel, readily available resources and high level ethics, the presidency offers prompt corrupt free services and reflects well on the country.

The Presidency initiated interesting programs known as ‘Meet The President’ and Citizen Outreach. Under these initiatives, the President has met and interacted with the youth and citizens and collectively solved most complex problems.

The Presidency has projected President Kagame’s governance and leadership style in a manner that has led to the global admiration of the country and its leadership. It is the Presidency that takes the leading role in the kind of vision the country aims to achieve.

We noted that Kagame’s presidency earned him the qualification for several invitations to exercise his leadership abilities and contribution of ideas in efforts to seek solutions to global challenges. He has taken leadership roles in global and continental organizations such as the African Union, NEAPAD, and ITU to mention a few. He definitely wouldn’t have delivered to his duties without the help of the team in his office.

Urugwiro operates smoothly and swiftly. It has indeed shown what an efficient Presidency looks like, small or big, developed or underdeveloped. In recent days, the Presidency displayed resilience after being tested by global challenges at a time when the country needed a solid direction, beginning from the global financial melt down, to insurgencies from DRC, Western media attacks, internal terror attacks, regional conflicts, international spats and recently the corona virus pandemic. All those challenges have been handled well. Note how Kagame has dealt with Uganda, Burundi, and France’s obnoxious behaviour. Kagame’s administration has illustrated great leadership abilities which reflect well on his Presidency.

The challenge his administration faces is the behaviour of some of the gatekeepers round him. Let’s talk about it. Even though he meticulously selects talent around him, some of them find themselves abusing the power the office allocates them. Without mentioning names, some individuals around the President weld so much power that they can call a Prime Minister and dictate to him instructions. Like the world-famous slogan of the Italian tyre brand Pirelli, “Power is nothing without control,” and fortunately Kagame keeps an eye on them and curtails the vice.

Kagame’s Presidency is one among the few around the world that has not succumbed to elite hostage. The rich and the most powerful can not make demands or dictate political and economic dimensions. Nevertheless, that is one way his Presidency is rewarding his constituency that has consistently voted him into office.

2. Rwanda Defence Forces

Having evolved from a guerilla rebel force that single handedly defeated well trained Rwandan Armed Forces and stopping a Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994, the Rwanda Defence Force has grown into a highly trained professional army with peace keeping capabilities around the world.

Rwanda Defence Force has ensured solid stability of the country and enabled other sectors to grow, and the general functioning of the state.

The RDF has played a crucial role in fixing daunting challenges; for example building hospitals, building model villages, offering health services through its famous ‘army week’ initiative, delivering Covid-19 vaccines, combating natural disasters, and of course neutralizing attacks against the country.

RDF remains highly effective in delivering its mandate. In recent times, RDF has displayed extraordinary abilities in International peacekeeping missions, ranking among top five countries in the world, and international interventions in troubled territories.

But here is another key point. RDF’s financial institution, Zigama CSS, is possibly the most innovative financial institution in the country, making exceedingly good profits in billions every year and serving its clients beyond their expectations. If it weren’t for Zigama CSS, government could not have managed to provide all the benefits they receive from the bank.

There is a famous video of President Kagame addressing RPA soldiers during the liberation struggle. He said in Kiswahili that Jeshi letu hili ndio msingi wa chama, litakuwa msingi wa mabadiliko ambayo yatakuwepo kwa nchi yetu …” loosely translated as “This army, will be the foundation of our party and will be the foundation for the transformation that our country needs. We have to understand the political reasons that made us pick weapons and fight. Therefore our actions and thoughts should always different us from the ones we are fighting against…” This has not changed 28 years later and looks like RDF is living to that dogma.

3. Rwanda National Police

Right from the Arusha Peace talks, the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) fronted and defended the idea of having a national police force to handle internal security however, the previous regime was not in favour of the idea and defended the Franco-style Gendarmerie, a military force with law enforcement duties among the civilian population.

Rwanda National Police (RNP) was created on June 16, 2000, effected by fusing the former Gendarmerie Nationale, Police Communale and Judicial Police. Today, the RNP has transformed into a formidable professional Police Force that also renders international Peacekeeping services across many troubled parts of the world.

RNP spends billions of francs on medical insurances, constructing houses for the poor, financing cooperatives among others in its annual activities for the community outreach program. Through the program, various activities are carried out across the country every year during ‘Police Month’ and are aimed at supporting programs that impact the community.

It’s recent contribution to the fight against the pandemic showed how advanced the force has become, with room for improvement. The RNP has guaranteed homeland security and rendered Rwanda to be one of the most secure countries to live in, globally. In regard to International Cooperation, RNP is a member of several international and regional organisations such as Interpol, EAPCCO, among others. Thanks to dozens of pacts of cooperation, RNP has proven to be relentlessly performing well in fighting a wide range of crimes domestically like human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, corruption, business fraud, and in particular cross-border crimes such terrorism, arms smuggling or trafficking of weapons, illegal oil bunkering, illicit trafficking in minerals, to mention but these notable few.

In recent times, the RNP has made tremendous efforts to educate the public on traffic rules and fire safety. And with community policing, the relationship with the public has improved, except for rare occasions when the institutions eats its own foot with aggressive enforcement of unpleasant regulations and laws.

Needless to say, Police Officers still need enhanced professional training to operate within the brackets of law and acquisition of more modern equipment to upgrade their capabilities. Through this, the institution will be able to execute its mandate in ever-changing policing environment. Times have changed.

4. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Having inherited an extremely negative image of low appeal and smaller diplomatic footprint, the Foreign Affairs Ministry of the current government has progressively expanded Rwanda’s diplomatic stretch, winning more friends and strategically cleaning up the country’s global image.

Rwanda Day initiative has successfully reshaped the country’s image and positive appeal to the world. Rwanda currently has a very strong regional and international influence to the envy of other nations.

Today, Rwanda has 39 diplomatic missions covering 147 countries, 37 honorary consulates in 17 countries, 201 memberships in International Organizations and foreign diplomatic missions in Rwanda. Note that the country is now a member of both the Francophonie and Commonwealth blocks, a phenomenon that illustrates Rwanda’s global diplomatic mighty.

Rwanda has vividly contributed to attainment of peace, security and stability, globally, by establishing and maintaining good relations with all countries.

Secondly, the ministry plays a big role in development cooperation, investment and tourism promotion, transfer of knowledge and technology, equitable world trade and regional integration.

The ministry has done a good job elaborating strategies and programmes, whose objectives are to implement, monitor and evaluate Rwanda’s foreign policy as well as clearly articulating this policy both inside and outside the country. By hosting global summits and conferences, such as AU and now CHOGM in a few months to come, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs earns high marks.

5. Ministry of Local Government

The Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC) is the driver of domestic politics, precisely. The RPF government largely delivers on its promises through MINALOC.  The Ministry ensures the coordination of good governance and territorial administration programs that promote economic, social and political development across the country.

The government implements policies, strategies and sector programs through decentralised entities such as districts and down to sectors. It also monitors and evaluates the implementation of policies, strategies and programs at the same time overseeing the functioning of institutions it supervises.

Over the past two decades and more, MINALOC has been at the center of Rwanda’s transformation, poverty reduction, political alignments, and shouldering governance pivots.

From 1994 to 2005, Social Protection was mainly delivered in the form of humanitarian assistance. In 2005, the first National Social protection policy was adopted and evolved from humanitarian assistance to social assistance.

During this period, Social Protection has contributed strongly to Rwanda’s performance in delivering the national development targets (e.g. reducing extreme poverty and inequality) during the era of EDPRS 1 and 2 as well as the Millennium Development Goals. Eradication of extreme poverty is now within MINALOC’s grasp and the social protection sector remains critical to achieving this noble objective.

MINALOC is a challenging ministry to run. It bares the red buttons; politically, economically and socially. A thorough assessment of the ministry put it to this list. Looking back at its crucial role with regards to the Gacaca courts, Bye-bye Nyakatsi eradication, land consolidation, elections, constitutional amendment consultations, Ubudehe, Umurenge SAACOs, Ndi Umunyarwanda, Umuganda, Mutuelle de Santé, Girinka, decentralisation, fighting COVID-19, and many more government programs and policies, we  have concluded that MINALOC, without prejudice, delivered.

Millions of Rwandans are still poor, unhealthy, and socially distressed. There is a myriad things to fix; stunting, malnutrition, unemployment, gender based violence, social cohesion, young girls’ pregnancies, high number of divorces, genocide ideology, poor service delivery of government services and many more.

The journey is not over yet.

Leave a comment below and tell us your predictions. Which ones will make it to the next top five?