Mayors’ Resignations: Are ‘Personal Reasons’ Really Personal?

President Kagame addressing local leaders recently. Failure to meet targets has pushed some Mayors to resign.

An irresistible self-evaluation coupled with a series of audits is the leading cause for the recurrent resignations of District Mayors, Governors have said.

For the last one month, not even a day passes without news of a District Executive Committee resigning citing ‘personal reasons’.

The ‘personal reasons’ excuse has received massive criticism by members of the public who think that the elected district leaders have other undisclosed reasons.

From every corner of the country except in the City of Kigali “so far”, at least a district executive committee has resigned.

In February 2016, Mayoral elections took place and 30 districts across the country got leaders.

Two years down the road, at least Mayors and their deputies in 10 districts have tendered in their resignation letters.

Despite citing ‘personal reasons’ however, some have already faced courts after investigations discovered they had a hand in mismanagement of public funds.

Others remain uncertain as they resigned as late as May 31, 2018.

It all started in June 2017, with Kamonyi District Mayor, Aimable Udahemuka tendering in his resignation to the district Advisory Council.

Though Udahemuka cited personal reasons, 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 their implementation, dodging council meetings and indiscipline, among many other accusations.

Aimable Udahemuka resigned just after 16 months in office.

Following Udahemuka’s resignation, in November last year, former Nyamagabe district mayor, Philbert Mugisha was sacked by the District Council Committee following concerns of embezzlement.

Following the wave in Kamonyi and Nyamagabe districts, leaders in other districts such as 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, also tendered in their resignations – all citing personal reasons.

But what is triggering these massive resignations day after a day? KT Press contacted Provincial Governors and all had two answers; accountability and evaluation.

The governors say, in some instances, the mayors even fail to achieve “basic things.”

Fred Mufulukye, Governor of Eastern Province who has already seen three of his districts affected said; “these leaders tendered in resignation letters following self-evaluation that exposed them out. More than two years after they were elected, they have failed to deliver according to expectations,” Mufulukye told KT Press.

According to the Governor, it is better for a leader to throw in the towel after realizing that they cannot serve efficiently.

“We are all given a responsibility to serve citizens at a certain pace. When one fails, they exit,” he said.

According to Northern Province Governor Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi, some of the district mayors resign after failing to do basic things.

Speaking to KT Press, Gatabazi regretted the resigning officials for failure to deliver yet all guidance and plans have been provided to ensure effective delivery of services to the people.

“You see the Province is the foreseer of district activities. The Province provides guidance and advice to them with the help of other stake holders. We have audit teams from the Province, the district itself and the Auditor General’s office, but these leaders still fail to deliver,” Gatabazi said.

“How can a leader fail to ensure hygiene?” Gatabazi asked.

Not a National Event – Munyentwari

Despite the issue going from district to district, and from Province to another, Alphonse Munyentwari, Governor of Western Province does not see it as a national issue, rather, “an individual consciousness to hand over to others when you understand you are failing.”

During a leadership retreat in March this year, President Paul Kagame accused leaders especially district mayors for not delivering to expectations.

Pointing out one by one, the President asked leaders to explain why they have failed to deal with malnutrition.

In response to the President, Local Government Minister Francis Kaboneka said that some leaders blindly skip issues and only realize them once they are asked about them.

In a presentation delivered by the Prime Minister Dr. Edourd Ngirente during the retreat, numbers showed that achievements under the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS 2) that started in 2013 with a deadline of 2018 were not impressive.

Looking at the implementation of the goals of Vision2020 which is remaining with almost three years to end, the Prime Minister said that generally, the goals were achieved “but we can’t stop criticizing ourselves where we fell short in achieving what was planned.”

“We need to work harder,” said the Prime Minister.

According to the Prime Minister, “among the 52 goals of the Vision2020, eight goals, meaning 15% were achieved on a 100% average; these were successfully carried out according to the way we had planned.

Other 19 goals representing 37% have been achieved at a 75% rate while 19 other goals were implemented at more than 50% rate.

However, there are other six goals (12%) that were implemented at the rate less than 50%.

These recurrent resignations happen at a time 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.




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