The New Times (Kigali)

18 January 2013

Rwanda: Leaders Must Interact With Their Constituents

editorial

As we've reported, President Paul Kagame is presently in the Western Province to meet and talk to the people. On Wednesday, he met with thousands of Nyamasheke residents, calming them and telling them that their security was assured, no matter what instability emanated from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.

He also held town hall meetings with them, where they exchanged views on how to improve their wellbeing and addressing various issues that residents faced.

This kind of leadership must be emulated by every single leader in the country. If the President can take time off his busy schedule to meet with his fellow Rwandans, what excuse does a mayor have? No matter how good a policy is, unless it has the citizens' input, it will be doomed to failure. As the very ones' whose lives are most affected by executive decisions, it is important that their voices are heard. More often than not, the citizens' suggestions make a policy even better.

The days when leaders remained on their high horse and issued diktats are behind us. Governance in Rwanda is a collaborate effort between the leadership and the citizenry. This collaborative effort is what makes our democracy even stronger. It allows leaders to understand the issues that people face on a day-to-day basis, and allow Rwandans to hold their leaders to account.

The people expect their leaders to approach them and seek their counsel and hear their problems in a timely manner. Do not disappoint them.

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