Rwanda Association of Local Government Authorities (RALGA) held virtually its 25th General Assembly Meeting on Thursday, 10th September 2020, around the theme ; “Professional Local Government Entities and RALGA are key to good governance and socioeconomic development”.
Participants included all Councils Chairpersons, Mayors and Chief Budget Managers at the City of Kigali and all the Districts. It was chaired by Cllr. Innocent UWIMANA, Chairperson and Legal Representative of the Association. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Mr. Samuel DUSENGIYUMVA, was the Guest of Honor representing the Minister of Local Government.
The meeting was held virtually through WEBEX meeting platform to comply with measures against COVID19 pandemic, which prohibited mass gatherings in the country.
Members appreciate the “clean audit report” and approve new Strategic Plan
In his welcome remarks, the Chairperson noted the exceptional context of the General Assembly, where the number of participants and the gatherings changed as a response to COVID19 pandemic, which killed the lives of the peoples and affected local government economies. He requested participants to play in preventing its spread.
The Chairperson recalled that ; this was the last annual general assembly meeting, as the next shall bring together the newly elected local leaders in 2021. He emphasized the achievements, including enhanced citizen participation, accountability and RALGA’s role in building strong local governments in Rwanda, where leaders and citizens are stakeholders in development.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government officiated the opening as the Guest of Honor. He thanked RALGA for its contribution in strengthening local governments in Rwanda, and he urged the participants to honor their commitment towards institutionalizing capacity building for Local Governments thus ; paying the contribution for the construction of the Local Government Institute in a bid to enhance professionalism in local government entities.
The Secretary General of the Association, Mr. Ladislas NGENDAHIMANA, presented the activity and financial reports for the year 2019-2020. He noted the impact of COVID19 activities, which paralyzed the operations in two last quarters, gatherings being restricted across the country. Accordingly, RALGA did not implement some of the planned activities, which affected the budget execution rates. He assured the members of the going concern of the Association, which is well managed and functioning, with strong support from the Government of Rwanda and development partners.
Councilor Pascal GATABAZI presented the report of the Control Committee. He highlighted the external auditors’ opinion on RALGA’s financial management which was “unqualified”. This means that the audit report for the year ended 30th June 2020 is clean, a fact for which RALGA members commended the association’s leadership and staff.
The Secretary General also presented the Strategic Plan for 2020-2025 whose Strategic Objective is “to build RALGA as a think tank and a platform for professionalism in Local Government Entities through evidence-based advocacy, customized capacity building and quality services to members”. This strategic plan has five priority areas namely ; (1) advocacy, (2) representation and partnership, (3) capacity building, (4) service delivery and (5) RALGA organizational enhancement. It has also five specific objectives ; (1) to streamline policy analysis and evidence based advocacy, (2) to enhance members’ representation and partnership, (3) to enhance professionalism in local government entities, (4) to enhance service delivery to members and (5) to enhance RALGA organs.
Having approved the Strategic Plan, the General Assembly approved the new organizational structure, which has four units namely ; (1) policy analysis, research and advocacy, (2) local government institute, (3) local government support services and (4) corporate services with required staff. The structure emphasized on rationalization of human and financial resources, while striving for effectiveness and efficiency.
RALGA to play a key role in Decentralization Policy & Early Childhood Development
RALGA’s 25th General Assembly meeting was an opportunity to discuss the role of Local Governments in the revision of the National Decentralization Policy, and their role in eradication of stunting and malnutrition in Rwanda to scale up Early Childhood Development (ECD).
The Ministry of Local Government presented the draft revised decentralization policy. Participants to the meeting gave inputs, which put RALGA at the centre of its implementation, recognizing particularly its critical role in capacity development and advocacy for decentralized entities. After deliberations and inputs especially about the advocacy role of the civil society organizations, the General Assembly of RALGA endorsed the proposed revised decentralization policy and pledged their support and commitment during its implementation.
The National Early Childhood Development (ECD) Program Coordination gave a presentation on the role of local governments in eradicating stunting and malnutrition. They all recognized the lack of proper coordination of stakeholders at local level as well as follow up, data management, monitoring and evaluation as well as timely reporting. Participants recognized the link between early childhood development and human capital development. They finally resolved to conduct ECD Day on quarterly in addition to the discussed areas of improvement.
In his closing remarks, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government commended RALGA for its role in building the capacity of Local Government Entities. He advised to rethink a new way of doing things taking into account new realities imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly thinking on the digitalization of services. He pledged full support and recognition from the Ministry for strengthening RALGA as an actor in local governance.
RALGA recognized and awarded the Districts of Nyamasheke, Nyabihu, Rubavu, Ruhango, Gatsibo, Gicumbi, Rulindo, Rutsiro, Karongi, Huye, Rwamagana, Musanze, Nyamagabe and Bugesera for timely payment of the membership fees for the year 2019/2020.