Women urged to take up bigger role in leadership

Government is seeking to involve more women in the decentralisation process, the Minister for Local Government, Francis Kaboneka, has said.
The minister’s message was in line with the celebration of the Africa Day of Decentralisation and Local Development marked in Kigali on Monday.

“We believe that, for our country to achieve its development goals, there is need for deepening decentralisation and inclusive governance, where all men and women recognise each other as mutually and equally responsible for the destiny of the country and sustainable development,” he said in a statement.

Rwandan officials joined the rest of Africa in celebrating the day with a pledge to have at least 100,000 Rwandans sign up on the HeForShe campaign, a UN-heralded solidarity movement for gender equality.

Under the African Charter on the Values and Principles of Decentralisation, Local Governance and Local Development adopted by the African Union member states four years ago, African countries celebrate the Africa Day of Decentralisation and Local Development every August 10.

But on Monday, it was the first time Rwanda was celebrating the day under the continental theme of “Deepening Decentralisation and Local Development through Effective Participation of Women in Local Governance”.

Rwanda has been hailed for its commitment to women empowerment and participation, with 46 per cent of all decision making positions at the district level currently held by women.

In order to achieve more inclusion of women in the decentralisation process, Kaboneka also announced that the Ministry of Local Government and all local governments would mobilise, at least 100,000 Rwandan men and boys, to sign up on the HeForShe campaign.

The HeForShe campaign, which can be joined on its www.heforshe.org website, is an international initiative aimed at mobilising everyone, especially men and youth, to create and increase awareness on gender equality, the fight against gender-based violence and promotion of ICT for all.

Rwanda is a shining example in women empowerment, especially as reflected by their big representation in Parliament and Executive.

However, Kaboneka stressed that the remaining challenge is about mindset change, and encouraged all Rwandans to join the Government to create a conducive environment for all to participate in the country’s development.

“Decentralisation being a process, we are happy for what we have achieved and are hopeful that all the outstanding challenges shall be overcome,” he said.