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Gasabo: Citizens react to the “I do not care” attitude starting with Water Utility Body

Photo: WASAC

In 2017 statistics showed that citizen participation and engagement in formulation and implementation of government policies both at central and local government entities improved by 5% between 2013 and 2015, according to the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB).

Addressing a dialogue on participatory planning and budgeting held in Kigali last year, Justus Kangwagye, who was RGB’s Head of Decentralization and Good Governance Promotion Department, read out remarks by the director general of the Board, in which he said that although there are achievements to celebrate, more efforts are needed to fight the ‘I don’t care’ attitude which still characterizes many Rwandans.

“Much as we acknowledge and celebrate the improvement in citizens’ participation in government policy formulation and implementation, there is a daunting task ahead by all Rwandan leaders to spearhead mobilization among communities to appreciate their right of fully participating in the entire process of good governance,” Kangwagye read.

The inhabitants of one of neighborhoods of Gasabo     District in the City of Kigali showed that the attitude “I do not care” is not part of their life as they stressed what they alleged should be addressed, in order to avoid that leaders continue to blame them for such attitudes

It was on Tuesday 19th June 2018, when a community leader in Gasharu Cell of Kinyinya Sector of Gasabo District, was holding a meeting with all citizens in the area and after a 2 hours discussions on matters that affect the community and looking together how everyone can play his/her role in development initiative; he gave the audience opportunity to raise their questions and concerns as usually done everywhere in the Country;

However, what astonished many is a citizen who rose up and pointed out that “Some time you blame people on different issues saying we don’t provide information or exchange ideas with our leaders”

“It is a long time since we called the EWSA (now WASAC) that we have a problem of water leakage in our neighborhoods. It’s almost three months or more,

However, what is not understandable is how we always hear people claiming that they have no water in their neighborhoods while the little one that we have is always leaking along the way.

“Nyakubahwa Muyobozi” kindly help us to call the people in charge to kindly come and rehabilitate the leaking water line.” Said one of the Citizens whose name is not disclosed due to personal reasons.

In a telephone with Mulindabigwi Gilbert, the Remera WASAC Branch Manager told this website’s reporter that “We only have this information from you right now, but tomorrow morning we are going to send our technicians and I will be there too to make sure that it is solved”

In August 2016, WASAC, in partnership with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), launched a project to reduce ‘non-revenue water’ in Kigali.

The three-year project is expected to significantly contribute to the utility’s target of reducing revenue loss to 25 per cent in the next five years.

The 25 per cent target is considered Africa’s non-revenue water benchmark. Most developed countries incur between 15 per cent and 20 per cent of non-revenue water loses.

Japan has one of the lowest rates of between 5 per cent and 10 per cent.

According to statistics of 2016, Kigali constitutes 60 per cent of the water supply and revenues collected. However, it also registers the highest rate of non-revenue water in the country mainly due to worn-out network.

The water network in Kigali was built to serve 350,000 people many years ago but now serves more than 1.2 million people.

Rwanda has come a long way regarding containing non-revenue water losses, from 42 per cent to the current 35 per cent. However, WASAC, together with Ministry of Infrastructure, have come up with several initiatives to strengthen non-revenue water control strategies in Kigali and upcountry water networks.

In 2017, Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC Ltd) launches Non-Revenue Water Awareness Campaign at Rugarama Primary School in Nyamirambo.

The awareness campaign was initiated to sensitize the public about non-revenue water and the public’s role in curbing non-revenue water in the country.

According to WASAC, Non-revenue water currently stands at 35% countrywide as of 2017. This consists of physical loss through leakages and overflow of reservoirs and apparent losses through water theft, errors in meter reading and billing.

The objectives of the Non-revenue water campaign consist of sensitizing the public about NRW; informing the public about their role in reducing NRW and preserving water infrastructures and educating the public about the consequences of causing NRW (Water theft, poor billing) in line with corruption practices.

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