Imihigo should be about impact, not the mayor’s glory – Musoni
The mayors of the districts, governors of provinces and the district council chairpersons are brainstorming on performance contracts (imihigo), considering the districts’ evaluations that have been conducted since mid June.
Looking at the priorities of the country, this will help to make a draft on the performance presentation and imihigo preparation, an event scheduled for August.
At the occasion, the ministry of local government which coordinates activities of performance contracts, oversees the implementation and evaluates the performances, is giving comments about the areas that need improvement and seeks any clarification, for local leaders to prepare the first draft of their performances they will present to the president.
This is serving also as preparation for the next performance contracts, which, according to the Minister of Local Government, James Musoni are expected to really impact on the lives of Rwandans, rather than just being an event where the winner can bask in applause. “We don’t focus on the marks one gets during performance contract evaluation, but impact the imihigo implementation is having on the lives of the population,” Musoni said in a meeting with local leaders last week.
In saying so, he was targeting districts which try to minimize activities in imihigo, so that they can achieve their target at 100%. “We have an assurance committee which looks at the standard of activities a district has put in their imihigo”, he said, adding they follow the modern principles of best management mixed with the traditional commitment to achieving certain goals, guhiga.
For the first time, the evaluation of performances was this year open to the media, civil society and the general public, to realize what is happening in every angle of the implementation. Yet none is allowed to present his findings before MINALOC presents its own, “to avoid inconsistence,” Musoni explained at the beginning of the evaluation.
“We will fire those who have to be fired and employ those who deserve to be employed.”
So far, it seems districts did a good job. Obvious improvements, Minister Musoni said, were identified in land use consolidation, rural development, urbanization and good governance. However, he added that some districts showed failure based on poor management or even the failure of partners to honor promises of making available funds they had promised to give. There has also been a problem of floods and landslides, where people lost their crops and houses and thus couldn’t perform according to what they had committed to achieve.
Results, not individuals
This time, what MINALOC wants the mayors to do is to plan what they can implement, with the means they can afford, where one will be showing a monthly implementation plan and source of funds. In addition, already early June Musoni had called on mayors to stop talking and instead to show results.
“For sustainable development to be achieved, we must have leaders ready to deliver in a stable environment. Thus, we will fire those who have to be fired and employ those who deserve to be employed”, he told mayors. “We focus more on results than on individuals.”
To avoid this failure that saw more than 70% of the mayors in their first mandate resigning and already more than 10 members of district advisory councils and two mayors in this mandate, Musoni said this time local leaders will be provided with capacity building, so that they are equipped with all necessities to deliver expected results.
Implementation of performance contract has always seen some local leaders be very ambitious to the point that they would involve people at whatever cost, sparking accusations of forced labor. However, Musoni warns against such behavior.
“Having imihigo in place or not, people who don’t deliver according to our wish will always be there. If a mayor destroys crops because people did not respect the principle of land use, if he takes the cows of subjects to get money for health insurance, he is a bad leader,” the Minister said.