Ideas, Stories, and Profiles

‘Accountability’ has been one keyword in the Rwandan political discourse in recent years. You listen carefully, it has been repeated over and over again intentionally, so much so that it leaves one to wonder what it really means. My sense of reason loves — and yours should — how clear the threefold motto of the government’s mission and call-to-action has come: “Stay together, be accountable, and think big.” It’s illustrative, perfect, and achievable.

No question Rwanda’s social fabric has now rebuilt stronger foundations. And there is no question Rwandans are collectively disposed to “think big” with the current trajectory. Even better, the government continues to introduce all sorts of new institutions to ensure more efficiency and rapid growth in various sectors.

For the role of accountability to take effect, however, the need for institutions to be more transparent — and be very intentional about it — is essential. There are many benefits to it. And without a decent degree of transparency, it is hard for citizens to hold their leaders accountable. To call for radical openness would be naive, if not dangerous, but it’s not too much to ask; to call for institutions to share information, communicate proactively, and be open to scrutiny.

There is no doubt that cultivating a culture of transparency would do us more good than (if any) harm. If we are serious about accountability, let’s get to it and make it work.

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