President Kagame today officiated at the closing of a three-day retreat of local government officials. The aim of the retreat was to assess persistent challenges in local governance, identify solutions and find ways of speeding up implementation of strategic priorities.
In his address to the participants, President Kagame noted improvements in some areas of governance, saying that it was an indication of efforts being made, but cautioned that there was much more to be done in order improve the lives of citizens. He expressed concern over numerous meetings which took up much of the leaders’ time with little to show as outcomes, “Meetings should not be an end in themselves but rather, a means to an end. This retreat just like all other meetings, should lead us to tangible results.”
President Kagame emphasized that Rwanda had lost a lot of valuable time and needed to catch up, which was motivation for every leader to achieve set objectives in the quickest time possible. He cautioned officials not accept appointment to public office if they felt incapable of standing up to the task of leadership, and if they did not expect to be held accountable.
Rejecting the commonly cited complaint of high turnover especially in local government, President Kagame said “Holding leaders accountable is a new thing. Wrongdoing by leaders has existed for a long time only that it was almost taboo to ask leaders to account for their misdeeds. I would like to tell you that we will be even more vigilant in demanding accountability from leaders because we will not compromise development for the convenience of a few individuals.”
President also pointed out that decentralization should be an engine that drives district development as opposed to stifling it, “All organs of the district should work in tandem to move the district ahead instead of standing in the way of each other.”