April 17, 2021

Parents in East Rwanda to Sign Contracts That They Will Not ‘Mistreat’ Their Children

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The Eastern Province

The Governor of the East Province, also a former Police chief Emmanuel Gasana has introduced “performance contracts” to be signed by parents in the region.

Gasana told a gathering in Nyagatare district on Friday April 15 that violence against children was more prevalent in eastern province, than other regions of Rwanda.

International charity Worls Vision in partnership with government was launching month long campaign in east Rwanda to deal with child abuse. The campaign has been called “It takes every Rwandan” (ITER).

According to government’s own data, the east has the lowest population, but has the most defilement cases. Since 2016 to end of 2019, a total of 78,646 girls under 18 years were defiled and impregnated by men – some fit to be their grandfathers.

The eastern province accounts for biggest number at 36.1% of the cases, southern at 21%, northern with 16.5% western at 15.2%, and Kigali with 11.2%.

The east is also said to be hotbed of child labour. For Governor Gasana, who was only appointed to the post late last month, this state of affairs is unacceptable.

The situation of child abuse is said to be particularly worse in Nyagatare, Gatsibo and Ngoma – of the seven districts making up the region.

“We have to expose the offenders so that they are punished,” said Gasana. “We hope that in one month there will be changes. We are also signing performance contracts with village leaders. The cell committee and village committee have to also sign performance contracts with households so that violence against children is eliminated.”

Introduced several years ago, “Performance contracts” are targets set annually by heads of government departments. Provincial Governors and District Mayors, they sign theirs in the presence of the Head of State.

The targets range from how many kilometers of roads they will build, to committing that no child in the locality will be anywhere else instead of school. Every year, districts are ranked in performance, in a ritual that has become yardstick for a mayor to keep their job.

Above and below: Governor Emmanuel Gasasa holds meeting this Saturday in Rwamagana district

Speaking on Friday at the World Vision event, Governor Gasana gave hint of what people in his region should expect. Now the parents in their households will be asked by government to put pen to paper committing to a set of targets.

Gasana is known to be a no-nonsense disciplinarian right from his time as Police chief. He would be moved to South Province as Governor, where he at some point chased officials out of his meeting on seeing them without notebooks to record what was being discussed.

At another session, he lambasted officials there for doing nothing to listen and solve problems of residents. He gave the example, that after arriving in Nyamagabe district, he received 100 people. The following day, he received 500 people. And on the third day, 1,000 people with problems showed up.

After about a year as Governor of Southern Province, Gasana was humiliatingly dismissed by President Kagame, along with other senior officials. Reasons for their dismissal were not divulged, apart from a statement from the Prime Minister’s office announcing their dismissal was because there were “cases for which they were being investigated.”

Eight months later, Gasana was reinstated, as well Gatabazi Jean Marie Vianney, who was actually elevated to Local Government Minister.

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