#Umushyikirano — a National Dialogue

Today starts the 14th National Umushyikirano Council (NUC) — commonly called simply ‘Umushyikirano’. Umushyikirano that brings together the President, government members and local leaders to discuss issues affecting the citizens — and the nation at large.

Over the years, Rwandans have followed Umushyikirano with eagerness, with some calling it the biggest entertainment show, as President Kagame becomes tough — every leader in the room get vulnerable. 
In the new report by Rwanda Governance Board seems to agree. 
The report shows that 81% of citizens consider NUC as a platform to solve citizens’ problems mostly followed by fast tracking development at 74% and enhancing citizens’ participation government policy-making process stands 63%.

Umushyikirano 2016 is expected to discuss the economy, citizens participation into policy making, and citizens ownership of programmes.

3 years to vision 2020, an ambitious plan that targets to increase GDP per capita from the current $689 USD to $1240. To achieve the set target Rwanda economy needs to grow 11–12% every year — the current average is 6%.

With increasing debates on social media about unemployment and economic hardships, perhaps, the GDP growth shouldn’t be an end itself. The growth should contribute to more job creation, access to finance and increase in domestic consumption.

Citizens involvement in policy making and ownership 
Umushyikirano is a medium that generated impactful programmes such as Girinka, 12 years basic education, Abunzi and much more. Despite, successful government programmes, reports have indicated that the population continue to resist or show low-level involvement. The critical issues are ineffective communication from government officials — institutions, and minimal involvement of citizens in the designing process thus a lack of ownership.

If we are ought to continue ‘Shaping Together the Rwanda We Want’ faster — citizen involvement in policy making should be encouraged more and more. And, also we can’t expect government driven programmes only — a dialogue on this is needed too.