The National Umushyikirano Council-an accountability meeting for government leaders returned after a three-year break due to restrictions on public gatherings during the Covid-19 pandemic.
All leaders in the government at different levels and invited partners sat through the two day all-business meeting, where the government had a lot to unpack.
As always Umushyikirano was led by the heads of government business, thus, the president and prime minister, who gave panels of Ministers, heads of institutions and private sector players a platform to share their work and pain points.
As expected in accountability meetings between President Paul Kagame and his government officials, the tension in the meeting hall was palpable, every official was hoping is not directed at him or her.
In his opening address, the president expressed his frustration with leaders who continue to demonstrate poor service delivery to Rwandans, which has cost the country so much.
He said this alluding to the ongoing saga where a number of government officials, including ministers, officer in police and the army invested money in a Ponzi-like chia seeds investment scheme where many unsuspecting citizens ended up losing a lot of money, and have now appealed to the government to cover their losses.
What came out clearly in the meeting is that a number of government officials are only partially implementing some of the key policies they are charged to roll out, leaving them with work only half done.
Take an example of the issue of the Rwanda Development Board's (RDB) one-stop centre not being fully operational after more than a decade of forming it to give a 360 facilitation of investors under one roof.
The other thing that stood out when the president put the RDB on the spot about the one stop centre, is that government officials don’t take time to fully understand the gist of the policies they implement or seek their correct interpretation from a practical standpoint, as acknowledged by the RDB CEO.
The other thing that is noticeable about Rwandan government officials is how most of them are overrun with fear, which impedes them from being fully in charge to make critical decisions about their work.
And at the end of the day, it is the citizen who is not offered a service, a local or foreign investor who is frustrated by the endless red tape, who becomes the victim of this indecisiveness. President Kagame wondered how even with
the ongoing inefficiencies in public service, Rwanda con-
tinues to score highly in a number of development indices,
for instance, the recent increase in Rwanda’s life expectan-
cy to 69 years. President Kagame is a leader whose eye is al-
ways on results and detests anything that comes between
government officials offering sufficient and timely services
to people. It starts with revisiting, understanding and hav-
ing a bull's eye interpretation of the existing policies, be-
cause in some of them lies the solutions.