Local Government Minister Francis Kaboneka has dismissed claims in the public domain which suggest that District Mayors are planted.
For the last one month, several District Mayors have tendered in their resignations citing personal reasons, but Minister Kaboneka who appeared on a Monday morning Talk show on KT Radio – a sister Radio station of Kigali Today, said not all of them fell in same resignation category.
Sections of citizens have been in the news criticizing the way District Mayors are elected. Some claimed they don’t elect their mayors.
In response, Minister Kaboneka said: “Mayors are elected by the Advisory Council which represents all sectors. Council members come from across the district therefore, they have mandate of all locals to elect a mayor on their behalf.”
In February 2016, Mayoral elections took place and 30 districts across the country got leaders. Two years down the road, at least 10 Mayors and their deputies have resigned.
In June 2017, Kamonyi District Mayor, Aimable Udahemuka tendered in his resignation to the district Advisory Council.
Udahemuka cited personal reasons, but upon his resignation, the chairperson for Kamonyi District Council, Emmanuel Karuranga told the media that the resignation decision came as Udahemuka was under pressure from the council which was accusing him of neglecting council decisions, delaying implementation of decisions, dodging council meetings and indiscipline, among many other accusations.
In November that year, former Nyamagabe district mayor, Philbert Mugisha was sacked by the District Council Committee following concerns of embezzlement.
Their resignations were followed by leaders in Ruhango, Huye, Nyaruguru in the South, Rusizi and Nyabihu in the Western, Gicumbi district in the North, Nyagatare, Kayonza and Bugesera districts in the East.
Minister Kaboneka clarified that some of these leaders were fired after failing to deliver according to citizens’ expectations, while others resigned to go for greener pastures.
“Others resigned after realizing the workload was heavy than they expected,” Minister Kaboneka said.
To Minister Kaboneka, “Being elected directly by citizens does not make one become an angel. They elect them on trust but can’t know their inner part. There will always be bad individuals.”
He emphasised that those who elect Mayors base on trust. “It would be a problem if those charged with supervising them failed to take decisions,” Minister Kaboneka added.
With citizens demanding mayors to be openly elected, Minister Kaboneka said, “It is an issue of understanding. These mayors are elected. A mayor elected must be a citizen of that area.”
While some district mayors have been forced to resign after failing to deliver, Minister Kaboneka admitted there have been cases of citizens sending messages to district councils praising the mayor saying “don’t let him or her go”.
These recurrent resignations happen at a time when districts are preparing to sign performance contracts for the next fiscal year, while also presenting what they achieved in the current one-Guhiga no guhigura.
In this event, they sign performance contracts with the president, and at the end of the year, the best is rewarded, the least performer is cautioned.