Last weekend, a 30 man delegation of Kira town council in Wakiso district led by their Mayor Mr. Mamerito Mugerwa of Wakiso district took part in the monthly Rwanda Umuganda on the outskirts of Kigali city.
Umuganda, loosely translated as community work, a thing so olden or rather similar to a school discipline ,is unimaginable but an actual monthly communal initiative that implores people to come together in common purpose to achieve an outcome –usually taking the form of general cleaning for the entire citizenry of Rwanda.
At the site, the Ugandan team was led by Mrs. Mukunde Angelique Vice mayor of finance, economic and Development of Kicukiro District, members of Rwacof company staff and thousands of Murinja residents to lay a foundation for a home of a widow of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
“We are greatly humbled by the interest in matters that affect your own welfare and the discipline, respect towards your leaders” The visiting mayor told the excited residents.
He told thousands of residents that there actions are a model to the rest of the world and promised to put into action the lessons learnt from this exercise to his home towns of Kireka and Bweyogerere in his country.
Mrs. Angelique, the Deputy mayor explained to the Ugandan team that Umuganda is a voluntary exercise which has been embraced by citizens emphasizing that by coming together to build such a home the community is building hope to those less fortunate among them. “In Rwanda if you have food you can’t fail to have source” she added.
It could evidently be seen that the Ugandan team was excited to take part and overwhelmed by the experience of the exercise. The Uganda visitors were over heard admiring in total disbelief that President Paul Kagame was also in the nearby neighborhood of Nyamirabo joined by several government officials and foreign diplomats taking part in Umuganda.
On his part, Michael Nuwagaba the chief operations officer of Ugacof Ltd, the Ugandan top coffee exporting company which sponsored the leaders for this groundbreaking trip underscored the need of private sector to supplement governments with community initiatives that will help steer transformation of people’s lives where the companies operate.
After the activity at Murinja, the group joined other thousands gathered at ….. Where they met the Mayor of Kicukiro Mr. Paul Jules Ndamage. Oh his part, he said he was deeply impressed with this partnership and the choice of Rwanda as a hub of lessons for the visitors.
“ In Rwanda we don’t treat Ugandans as people from just another country but as our close brothers and sisters” , Later on, the host leadership of Kicukiro and Kira Town councils sat down for comparison of notes during lunch at Nobleza Hotel. In a question and answer session held between the two groups, the mayor told visitors that Rwanda has a guided political class which fully understands that politics is away to solve problems rather than creating them.
This was prompted by the wonderment of visiting political leaders who were wondering how Rwanda has achieved such transformation amidst an environment where politics stands as a big challenge.
“ For a long time I had considered resource scarcity as a reason hindering transformation of communities but Rwanda has defied this excuse and they show that leadership can inspire people to take charge of their own destiny” a member of the Ugandan delegation told our reporter.
The Ugandan delegation in solidarity with survivors as the country prepares to remember the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi for the 20th time, they took part in writing messages of Hope organized by a youth group dubbed #Kwibuka20 and laid a wreath on mass graves at Nyamata Genocide memorial centre.
By Agaba Bills