By Emmanuel Kanamugire
The level of citizens’ participation in the development process, especially in planning and budgeting at the grassroots level need to be improved, Rwanda’s Minister of Local Government, Prof. Anastase Shyaka states.
The government of Rwanda has invested much effort in promoting citizens’ participation, community transformation and accountability as well as deepening community consultations.
Speaking at the official launch of citizens’ participation in districts planning of 2020/2021, on November 12, 2019 in Zaza Sector, Ngoma District, Eastern Province, Minister Shyaka said that there is a need to scale up efforts to continue raising the level of citizens’ participation in planning, budgeting and implementation processes relevant to districts.
“The citizens’ participation is still weak in some cases; it’s fragile in planning and preparing the district’s budget. People think that these are technical issues the citizens don’t know but really they are capable of identifying what they want” Minister Shyaka said.
“But as years went by, there is a step forward and we’ll continue to offer citizens the platform to ensure their role and contribution in community transformation” he added.
Clean water supply is among the top priorities in the planning of 2020/2021 especially in some parts of Zaza Sector where local people use water from lakes.
Residents of Zaza Sector also said they need much effort in increasing electricity both in homes and health facilities. They want transport facilities (buses to link them to Kibungo town and Kigali), ambulances, new hospital, rooms for 9& 12 YBE for primary leaving students among others.
The leadership of Ngoma District was assigned to choose the priorities from the list of what citizens showed they need, basing on available resources.
The study conducted by the University of Rwanda on the ‘role of citizens’ participation in planning and budgeting process’ in Rwanda in 2016, revealed that effective citizens’ participation in planning is relevant to the country as it impacts on the increase of revenue collection, performance contracts preparation, implementation as well as monitoring and evaluation.
However a disconnection between different administrative levels in their communication is a hindrance for effective citizens’ participation.