Cabinet meeting to decide on cancellation of 18th Umushyikirano

On 14 December 2020 at 05:04

Following the upsurge in new COVID-19 cases, an extra ordinary cabinet meeting is set to take place this Monday raising expectations for strict control measures.

The closure of restaurants operating as bars and activities crowding people that provided loophole for spread of the virus are among other expected resolutions.

The cabinet meeting is also expected to make final decision on the cancellation of the 18th Umushyikirano.

It was recently announced that the council would take place at Kigali Convention Center under strict COVID-19 health guidelines and attract the participation of 500 instead of 2000 who have been attending since inception.

Preparations were underway that COVID-19 tests for participants would start from today at Petit Stade in Remera.

A total of 678 people have been tested negative in the past 13 days while 6 have succumbed to the virus in the same period.

During a talkshow broadcasted on RTV yesterday to shed light on COVID-19 preventive measures, the Minister of Health Dr Daniel Ngamije explained that the high level of complacency and individual behaviours is spreading the virus leading to increase in daily infections, thus derailing the national response efforts.

"The last two weeks have caused concern; the rate of infections is high, we are now seeing infections in many parts of the country and in various groups of people," Dr. Ngamije said.

He added: "COVID-19 has so far killed 56 people in Rwanda, including four deaths in the last three days, we have seen that it kills even young people including those with no other underlying health conditions. We are seeing infections in business centres, schools, medical workers, prisons.

It’s so unfortunate that this surge in infections is largely due to complacency and human behaviours that disregard the set health guidelines."

As the country awaits the arrival of the vaccine, probably in the next three months, Dr. Ngamije reiterated the need to ensure maximum compliance.

"Young people account for the majority of violators. When you seat somewhere in a social gathering, even if you observe physical distancing, but not wearing a face mask, within 30 minutes, everyone around you will be infected. There are also traders, some of whom have been arrested, who forge certificates thus spreading the virus."

Rwanda National Police (RNP) spokesperson, CP John Bosco Kabera also noted that violations are now high like never before during this pandemic period.

"The inappropriate behaviors call for stringent measures against those who move beyond 10pm or before 4am; people attending authorised events beyond the permitted number and to stop such events in circumstances where violations are observed. It is now time to take a punitive approach," CP Kabera warned.

Complacency and disregard for prevention directives, CP Kabera said, is also observed in the big numbers of violators intercepted, including those without face mask or wearing it inappropriately, physical distancing and those found operating bars.

The spokesperson highlighted that every situation informs new required measures, that anyone caught disregarding the directives will face immediate consequences.

The Annual National Umushyikirano Council was set to take place for the 18th time during a time when the world is faced with Coronavirus pandemic which has taken lives of over 50 Rwandans. To control the spread of COVID-19 all participants had to go for early tests and respect other health guidelines instituted including hand washing, wearing face masks and social distancing.

There had been some changes whereby, this year’s Umushyikirano would last one day on 16th December instead of the usual two days.

During the council, the president delivers ‘State of the Nation’ address.

Umushyikirano is Kinyarwanda’s equivalent of ‘dialogue’. During the dialogue, participants exchange ideas, share experiences, peer review and question each other. Today Umushyikirano is known as the National Dialogue Council.

As part of efforts to reconstruct Rwanda and nurture a shared national identity, the Government of Rwanda drew on aspects of Rwandan culture and traditional practices to enrich and adapt its development programs to the country’s needs and context.

The result is a set of Home Grown Solutions – culturally owned practices translated into sustainable development programs. One of these Home Grown Solutions is Umushyikirano.

Governed by the Rwandan Constitution (Article 168), Umushyikirano is a forum where participants debate issues relating to the state of the nation, the state of local government and national unity. The Office of the Prime Minister is responsible for the overall co-ordination of Umushyikirano.

Umushyikirano brings together members of the Cabinet and Parliament, representatives of the Rwandan community abroad, local government, media, the diplomatic community and others invited by the President.