This year saw a spate of multiple surprise resignations of mayors and district executives. All,if not most, cited “personal reasons” — just like it happened in 2014, when four mayors resigned within a space of three months.
These personal reasons don’t get anyone into the dock for corruption but this year, some of them were arrested and dragged to court to explain missing funds.
However, for some, their resignation was not well explained. For example, ex-Kigali Mayor, Pascal Nyamulinda, resigned under unclear circumstances in April and to date, no real reason has been given for his departure.
Resignations are a normal procedure in politics across the world, but in Rwanda, resignations and demotions of public officials are almost followed up with a shady story.
It appears as if the culture of denying citizens information is embedded within the system of governance that it is becoming hard to investigate real causes of poor delivery of government services.
Many times, problems persist until the president visits a region and orders that a certain problem be fixed. Usually that problem is fixed within record time, leaving one to wonder why it had to wait for the president’s notice.
Sense of responsibility
In 2019, we would like to see a sense of responsibility that comes with public service.
We need to see more accountability and dedication to work. Leaders must avoid the temptation of spending more time carrying out public relations (on social media) than working.
It is insidious to have leaders who suddenly resign for “personal reasons” usually after failing to be accountable.
This culture of selfishness must be discouraged and despised because it undermines everything we are trying to achieve as a country.
It also disheartens those who are selfless in public service. We need to see enforcement agencies force such leaders to be accountable.
It is a great privilege to be appointed or elected to a public office in Rwanda today. When a leader is elected or appointed, they essentially agree to the vision and purpose of their job. They must work towards remaining relevant by developing a plan to make sure that their staff work together to achieve national goals.
They also have to use their authority to ensure that appropriate financial controls are in place. This will help solve the constant problems raised by the auditor general, showing poor financial management and controls in multiple institutions.
Being accountable also means the end of resigning for “personal reasons”. Citizens need transparency, and you cannot give that by hiding behind the veil of “personal reasons”.
Once you resign as a leader, be bold enough to tell us why you decided to do so.
In this coming New Year, good governance should not be substituted with lip service. Honest and fair leaders are what Rwanda needs to achieve and sustain excellent service delivery.