July 17, 2019

New Kigali City Draft Law Will Make ‘District Administrators’ More Powerful Than The Mayor

Trustworthy and indepth news stories are more important now than ever.
Support our newsroom by MAKING A CONTRIBUTION HERE
The Kimihuru area of Kigali

The law governing Kigali City is currently under review in parliament with the objective of what officials say will improve service delivery and make coordination and planning more effective.

But some opposition members of parliament say the new law will undermine decentralization and make Kigali City less effective in delivering services and planning.

One of the most important change the new law seeks to put in place is that while Kigali City Mayor will be elected by councilors as it is today, the current elected District Mayors will be replaced by “District Administrators” appointed by the President of the Republic─a higher authority.

Observers now wonder whether district administrators won’t have more clout and influence than the city mayor and whether this isn’t a return to centralizing power as was the case before the advent of decentralization in post-genocide Rwanda.

Once adopted, the law will make the three districts that make up Kigali City lose their legal personality. These districts are: Gasabo, Nyarugenge and Kicukiro.

In practice, losing legal personality means that these districts will no longer have the right to independent planning and a budget or the right to sue or be used.

As Article 3, paragraph 2 of this draft law says, “Districts, Sectors, Cells and Villages of the City of Kigali are decentralized administrative entities without legal personality”

But “The City of Kigali” will remain “a decentralized entity with specialized administration, legal personality, administrative and financial autonomy”, the law says

Importantly, while district mayors have in the old law been elected by district councilors who are directly elected by citizens, in the new law, districts will be under the leadership of a “district administrator” appointed by the President of the Republic.

Article 36 says “The Executive Organ of the district is composed of the following two (2) members including a woman: (1) the Chief Administrator and (2) Deputy District Chief Administrator”

Paragraph four adds: “Members of the Executive Organ are appointed by a Presidential Order for a term of five (5) years renewable”

Lawmaker Dr Frank Habineza, who is also the President of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda says this law will neither advance decentralization nor make service delivery effective.

Speaking to the Chamber of Deputies when the draft law was presented, he said: “There are other institutions which rely on the legal entity of districts, for example district hospitals. Losing legal personality might cause legal problems and may also cost government a lot of money”

To Habineza, it would be better for districts to retain their legal personality.

He says: “…while the City of Kigali gains a higher status [with the new law], the districts can still remain with their legal status”.

The Chronicles talked to Ms. Rwakazina Mary Chantal, who was the Mayor of Kigali City until her appointment as Ambassador to Geneva this Monday.

Rwakazina says the draft law, once adopted will not the national policy of decentralization but will make services better within a decentralized system

“The new law has goals of promoting the decentralization administration entities in Kigali”; enhancing citizen cooperation and empowerment as well as improving services delivery.

Prof Shyaka Anastase, the Minister of Local Government, in whose docket Kigali City falls, told The Chronicles in interview that there is no contradiction in the new draft law and that, once adopted, it will promote and enhance the powers of decentralized entities not limit them.

Prof Shyaka said “Though the official leaders of Kigali City will be elected and others appointed by the Presidential Order nothing will [be] affected during implementation of [the] law…because the law will not change [the] working conditions, salaries”

Prof Shyaka further explains that the “Draft law is changing only co-operation system not [the] political system of [the] city. So, the policy makers will continue working under the current political system that cannot collapse the authority [of the] Mayor and other elected officials”.

It nevertheless remains to be seen whether an appointee of the President of the Republic can report to an elected official at a lower-level than the presidency.

We can't do quality journalism without your support

Perhaps it goes without saying — but producing quality journalism isn't cheap. At a time when newsroom resources and revenue are declining, The Chronicles remains committed to "Serving Your Right To Know The Truth". Stand with us as we document Rwanda's remarkable journey for you and the future generation. Do you value our journalism? We can't do it without you. Show us with your support by CONTRIBUTING HERE.
Email your news TIPS to info@chronicles.rw or WhatsApp +250788351327.
You can also find us on Signal


  1. I just like the valuable info you provide for your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your weblog and check once more here regularly.

    I am relatively sure I’ll be informed a lot of new stuff right right here!
    Best of luck for the following!

  2. A fascinating discussion is worth comment. I do believe that you ought to publish more on this topic, it may not be a taboo matter but typically people do not discuss these topics. To the next! All the best!!

  3. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your weblog?

    My website is in the very same area of interest as yours and my
    visitors would truly benefit from a lot of the information you provide here.
    Please let me know if this okay with you. Appreciate it!

  4. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now eachtime a comment is added I get three emails withthe same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service?Bless you!

  5. Thank you for some other informative blog. The place else may just I am getting that kind of information written in such an ideal method? I’ve a undertaking that I am just now working on, and I have been on the glance out for such info.

  6. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say excellent blog!

  7. Thank you for every other informative blog. The place else may just I get that kind of information written in such an ideal manner? I’ve a challenge that I am simply now operating on, and I have been at the glance out for such information.

  8. With havin so much written content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement?
    My site has a lot of unique content I’ve either authored myself or
    outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the web
    without my permission. Do you know any ways to help reduce content from being ripped
    off? I’d really appreciate it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *