President Paul Kagame has fired a warning to incompetent government officials after discovering several stalled projects and poor service delivery during his three-day upcountry tour to the northern and western provinces that concluded on Friday.
Speaking to tens of thousands of residents in Musanze District on Thursday, Kagame promised better services, including electricity, safe water and better flood management systems.
He said he would return “very soon” and “deal” with government officials if the services are not provided.
“Whichever leader takes service delivery for granted, I promise you that I will get medicine for them. We shall deal with the leaders who failed to provide this. I will be rough with them. They cannot concentrate on just the capital city. I will come back here telling you how I solved that problem,” he assured residents to great applause.
Main institutions that were at the end of Kagame’s scorn included, Rwanda Development Board (RDB), BDF, NIRDA, BDF and the ministry of agriculture.
Leaders of those institutions were tasked on the spot to explain why some agricultural projects failed to deliver services, and ended up having to openly apologise after failing to convince the president.
“Some of you previously gave me 20 explanations for one bad project; it shows that you don’t even know what you are talking about. It appears as if you work like mercenaries, just waiting to get paid at the end of the month,” he said.
“You all look like intelligent people, so I don’t understand whether you ever think about the repercussions of your actions.”
According to the 2018 auditor general’s report, a total of 21 projects valued at Rwf35.7 billion ($6.6 million) stalled.
After his speeches in three districts, the president listened to specific problems fronted by a few individual residents.
Due to the limited time of his outreach program, some residents fought hard to get on the list of those who were scheduled to present their problems to the president.
After realising that she may not make it on the list, one woman in Musanze screamed and protested to join the queue but was stopped by policemen, only for President Kagame to ask them to let her through.
Upon grabbing the microphone, the widow, Sophia Mukamariya, pleaded with the president to help her get full compensation after her small house was destroyed for road construction.
“I am a widow with three children. My home was destroyed for the construction of the Nyagatare-Base road in 2017 but I was not expropriated fully. I have spent years without a home for my children,” she said in tears.
President Kagame then assured her that she would get fully compensated and ordered government officials present at the rally to see to it.
Another woman, Providence Uwamahoro, narrated how her seven year old daughter was defiled but was not given full justice.
“After my daughter was defiled, the perpetrator was jailed for seven years and ordered to pay a fine of Rwf1.2 million ($1250). However five years later, I have not received that compensation and no office is willing to help me,” she said.
President Kagame expressed shock at the leniency in the court sentencing, and asked government officials to follow up and help her.
“Seven years is a very lenient sentence (for the defiler). I promise that your problem will be solved,” he assured the woman.