Umushyikirano: Rwandans to Brainstorm on Building a Stronger Country

Rwanda’s annual National Dialogue, unhealthy commonly known as Umushyikirano, has opened today Thursday in the capital Kigali with hundreds of participants expected to brainstorm on the country’s future.

President Paul Kagame is expected to give a speech at the ceremony being held at the glamorous Kigali Convention Centre.

This year’s Umushyikirano Council brings together over 2, 000 participants including leaders from both local and central government, according to government officials.

The event is hugely significant in Rwanda’s governance as it provides a unique opportunity to locals to publicly hold their leaders accountable.

The function is usually discomforting for non-performing leaders. Locals in the remote areas are connected via telephone links to interrogate leaders sitting on their jobs.

At the end of the function, resolutions are taken, guiding leaders on the way forward. Critics have previously accused government of suppressing freedoms of expression in the country.

But officials say initiatives such as Umushyikirano allow constructive criticism and sharing of ideas that build the nation. The theme of this year’s conference is “Shaping together The Rwanda We Want”.

The two-day function will serve as platform to reflect on country’s progress and share ideas to solve ongoing challenges.


Local communities will also join Umushyikirano via the national fiber optic video conferencing system.

The event is chaired by the President and attended by members of the Cabinet and Parliament, representatives of the Rwandan community abroad, local government, media, the diplomatic community and others invited by the President.

Governed by Article 168 of the Constitution, Umushyikirano allows participants to debate issues relating to the state of the nation, the state of local government and national unity. It draws its strength from the direct participation of citizens in holding their leaders to account.

Since the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, Rwanda has undertaken an ambitious nation-building project with the aim of becoming a knowledge-driven, middle-income country by 2020.

Significant progress in achieving this goal has been made, but challenges remain. This session will include a presentation on the progress Rwanda has made across multiple sectors, from health, education and security, to politics, economic development and environmental protection.

Officials will identify achievements that need to be protected, the challenges to be addressed, and the role of all Rwandans in achieving new momentum. Those unable to attend will ask questions through SMS, telephone, radio, Twitter and Facebook. Follow ChimpReports for live updates..

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