Mayor survives to die another day

Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira is a lucky woman. And she knows it. For all but luck, the Kigali City mayor might have seen her tenure cut short over a controversy many agree is not her own doing.

She according to reports, was Thursday evening quizzed over her alleged negligence in addressing the concerns of residents from Jabana where a Chinese owned stone quarry is causing sleepless nights to locals and administrators alike. Luckily, the Kigali City Advisory Council found her worthy an apology and issued a last warning.

Last warning? You must be kidding! Since when did advisory councils start assuming powers of chief whips? It is not the last warning issuance to a city mayor that i actually find very satirical, but the way it was handled. So, we are now all supposed to take as fact the idea that a city mayor is responsible for even the pettiest of cases in a city that under decentralisation, was sized down to ease administration?

Justice as we know it demands that the accused be given a just, fair and reasonable trial. That Kirabo, who in this case, was the defendant, had to first be forced out of the room to return after her fate had been decided speaks volumes. If the accusation against her was sound and based on the very values of true justice that we Rwandese treasure, there definately was no reason why she had to be moved. Was someone not sure of what was to be discussed or was the council too timid to talk about her actions in her presence? How about granting the accused some form of platform to give her side of the story?

Whatever the case and the real story behind this Jabana quarry in relation to Kirabo and her position as mayor, we may never know. But lets not forget this, there is more to this than meets the eye and when the chicken finally come home to roost, Kigali City Advisory Council chairman, Titien Muberangabo, will need a smarter phrase than his livid comment to The New Times.

If indeed we are to believe that Kirabo in her capacity as mayor refused, delayed and never gave attention to her superior Christophe Bazivamo’s letter over Jabana, who is to blame? If as CEO you find out that one of your senior managers is too busy to respond, do you instantly reprimand before calling out to see what the problem might be? Yes, if you are a profit-led enterprise but how about if there is someone in your chain of command who could have done the same thing you are asking your incompetent sergeant to effect?

Bazivamo has a point. As a public servant, public service comes first and if he thought of all the officials in the chain Kirabo was better placed to address the issue at hand, then she should be blamed. Question is, is blaming the mayor the only productive way of handling this saga?

From what we now know, the issue came to light sometime before August this year. Since August, there are a dozen poor souls in Jabana who have had to put up with dust, smoke and whose houses now have cracks as a result of the quarrying (which they may not stand to benefit from by the way) and over which they had no decision whatsoever

Now, the council has given Kirabo up to January next year to come up with some solution. During that period, someone might lose a dwelling courtesy of cracks or at worst, a life.

One might as well ask, where is team work in all this? I remember a friend of mine who wanted to work for the local government being tasked to explain how the hell he thought he would make a good team player supposing he was to be offered the advertised position. Poor boy had to think left, right and centre for an answer which as we now know, might have been a rhetorical question as far as MINALOC  is concerned.

May be we need a health and safety ministry? We could afford it. For, if Gasabo District, Kigali City Council, Rwanda Geology and Mining Authority, RWEMA and all failed to spot the consequences of allowing stone quarrying in a populated area, who can deny the fact that another agency like a Ministry of  Health and Safety ( funded by the taxpayer who is actually suffering in this case) wont be of great use?

As for now, Muberangabo should stop being loutish. If the council he heads knows how to solve this matter, it should help out Kirabo and not condemn her because we now know the blame game is counter-productive. We lost so many during the genocide, we cant afford to lose more over a stone quarry whose proceeds we cant tell who they benefit.

As for the mayor, you can look forward to a merry Christmas, and if you are still your Lordship come next year, log on to Amazon and get yourself a copy of Pierce Brosnan last act as an MI6 spy…Die Another Day (2002)

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Author: ellyakanga

I am Eleneus Akanga. Welcome to my blog about my experience as a Rwandan journalist and all that comes with the trade in East Africa. It's been a great journey so far but very challenging at times. Join me, let's get cracking! ellyakanga@usa.com

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