A group of military officers from the Nigerian Armed Command and Staff College, led by Brig. Gen. Jacob Sunday Adeyemi has paid a courtesy call on the Rwandan Ministry of Local Government. It was on Tuesday, April 26, 2011, in the afternoon.
The group is in Rwanda for a one week study tour on “Challenges of Disaster Management to the Armed Forces in Contemporary African Society”. They wanted to learn from the Ministry of Local Government about government policies and programs that contribute to disaster prevention, mitigation and appropriate management.
The Minister of Local Government (MINALOC), Honorable James MUSONI, explained to the delegation that, Rwanda has been experienced different natures of disasters, human and natural disasters, and he said that, Rwandans are always determined to prevail.
The Minister highlighted how the genocidal regime, that led Rwanda until 1994, originated a man-made disaster whose climax has been the genocide against Tutsi in 1994. He said that, Rwanda has also faced natural disasters including earthquakes in the Western regions of the country.
Minister James MUSONI briefed the delegation about different prevention and mitigating mechanisms that Rwanda has adopted as a way to manage all forms of disasters. He highlighted, among others, decentralization as a citizens’ participation policy, democratization of institutions and elections at all national and administrative levels as a way to empower Rwandans to be responsible of their fate and destiny, and intense sensitization of the population especially those residing in hilly areas and about construction materials to be used.
Speaking about the social, economic and political transformation that is witnessed in Rwanda, Minister James MUSONI said that, over the past 17 years, Rwanda has been using unconventional methods to address all challenges it faced, to look for solutions and forging the new way of doing business in the country.
“These best practices are not written in any book, and that is why we call them unconventional methods”, Musoni told the delegation.
He said that, it was in the same context that traditional Gacaca courts were reintroduced to trial genocide related cases, performance based contracts were also conceived as a way to expedite national development, and “One cow per poor family” program was introduced to fight against malnutrition and provide manure for the poor.
The Minister talked also about organized rural settlement and decent housing, whereby the Government is committed to eliminate all grass thatched houses in Rwanda, for Rwandans to live in a decent home, as a mitigating mechanism against natural disasters. In a separate joint interview with journalists, Minister MUSONI James said that, the Government has opted for decentralization to promote unity, reconciliation and national development in order to prevent human disaster as it happened in Rwanda in 1994.
After discussions with local government officials at the ministry’s headquarters, Adeyemi pointed out that they intend to take stock of Rwanda’s policies and implement them in their country. “We have had interactions with the minister and other local government officials and we have learnt that Rwandans are aware of both natural and man-made disasters. This is a good lesson we have leant,” Adeyemi said.
The visiting Nigerian senior military officers have commended the disaster management mechanisms adopted by the government, saying that these are good strategies other African countries can learn from.
In a special way, Brig Gen ADEYEMI who led the Nigerian Delegation has served in Rwanda under GOMN (Groupe d’Observateurs Militaires Neutre) for 18 months, since April 1992 to November 1993. Brig General ADEYEMI said that, there is significant socio-economic transformation in Rwanda. He added, "This is not the Kigali that I used to see in 1993. A lot has changed in terms of socio economic development, and there is a lot to learn from this country”, Adeyemi asserted.
The delegation exchanged gifts with the Minister of Local Government, and they paused for a photo. The delegation was impressed by the national policies and achievements, and they commended the visionary leadership of His Excellency Paul KAGAME, President of the Republic of Rwanda.