Decentralization has been a key policy of the Government of Rwanda since 2000 when the National Decentralization Policy was adopted. The main drive of the policy is to ensure equitable political, economic, and social development throughout the country, and to be a cornerstone of the fight against poverty by increasing people’s participation in the planning and management of the development process.
The implementation of the strategy was phased out as follows;
- Establishing democratic and community development structures at the District level and was accompanied by a number of legal, institutional and policy reforms, as well as democratic elections for local leaders from 2001 to 2005.
- Consolidating progress on national priorities, such as Vision 2020, and deepen the decentralization process by enhancing effectiveness in service delivery to communities.
Building on the above the next phrase should aim at improving on the key downward accountability linkages between local government leadership and citizens.
Regulatory Frame work
Decentralization is enshrined in Rwanda’s Constitution. Article 167 of the Constitution of Rwanda provides for decentralized entities and reiterates that they are the foundations of community development. The law determining the organization and functioning of the City of Kigali and the law determining the organization and functioning of the districts gives full effect to the decentralized functions
The Decentralization Policy
The policy was approved in 2001 as a mechanism to achieve good governance principles (through improved participation, promotion of transparency and accountability, and setting up responsive decentralized structures), enhance local economic development (through efficiency and effectiveness in implementation of development programs) and bringing quality and accessible services closer to the citizens.
Decentralization policy objectives
- To enable and reactivate local peoples’ participation in initiating, making, implementing, and monitoring decisions and plans that concern them
- To strengthen accountability and transparency in Rwanda by making local leaders directly accountable to the communities
- To enhance the sensitivity and responsiveness of public administration to the local environment by placing the planning, financing, management, and control of service provision at the point where services are provided
- To develop sustainable capacity for economic planning and management at local levels
- To enhance effectiveness and efficiency in the planning, monitoring, and delivery of services.