14 December 2012

Rwanda: MPs Endorse National Itorero Commission

PARLIAMENT on Wednesday passed a bill establishing the National Itorero Commission (NIC), a platform for educating and training Rwandans on shared values and taboos in coexistence and contribution to national development.

Previously, Itorero, which was launched in 2008, was a task force that operated under the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission.

According to the bill, the Commission shall have an overall mission of mobilising and sensitising Rwandans on cultural values and taboos.

Its responsibilities will also include educating and training Rwandans to make them espouse a culture of volunteerism by serving the country; be Intore who are "worthy Rwandans" and are catalysts for positive change.

Jean Baptiste Habyalimana, the Executive Secretary of the NURC told The New Times that a restructuring of the current NURC law was crucial to permit the responsibility of educating and training of Rwandans on values and taboos to be relocated to the NIC.

He added: "Ingando and Itorero activities helped the Commission [NURC] to build unity and reconciliation and NURC and NIC are going to continue working together, because one of values of Rwandan culture is the unity of Rwandans. But, the most important is the national service which is going to be in the NIC."

Once the bill is promulgated, NIC will have new organs and probably new leadership.

Boniface Rucagu, the Chairperson of the national Itorero task force told The New Times that "it is possible that I might continue heading it just as it is possible that other people might come in to lead it."

Rucagu is optimistic the changes will usher in considerable value addition in building national unity and spurring development.

"This idea of the commission was requested by Rwandans and leaders at many occasions, after carefully looking at the pace of development programmes. It was realised that government programmes were not moving as fast as desired because of a level of understanding that was still low," said Rucagu.

Rucagu said that a degree of sustainability was required and that could only be guaranteed by setting up the NIC since a mere task force would not effectively handle.

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