This year’s Umushyikirano will be attended by 500 participants at Kigali Convention Center instead of 2000 who have been attending since inception.
To control the spread of COVID-19 all participants will be tested and respect other health guidelines instituted including hand washing, wearing face masks and social distancing.
Among other changes, this year’s Umushyikirano will last one day on 16th December instead of the usual two days.
It will bring together Rwandans from inside the country and abroad while others will follow activities virtually at different meeting points.
There will be four established centers across in the countryside thus; Karongi, Nyaruguru, Kirehe and Gicumbi, and one at Intare Arena convening 500 participants of YouthConnect summit.
During the council, the president will deliver ‘State of the Nation’ address.
The address is expected to give hope to Rwandans especially during the period when the country’s economy has been shaken by Coronavirus pandemic.
There have been several reshuffles in top Government officials following the previous Umushyikirano. Some institutions got new heads while others have been suspended or appointed to new duties.
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 is an annual event chaired by the President of Rwanda that gives Rwandans from all walks of life the opportunity to ask questions directly to their leaders.
The event is attended by members of the Cabinet and Parliament, representatives of the Rwandan community abroad, local government, media, the diplomatic community and others invited by the President.
Those unable to attend in person at Rwanda’s parliament building can participate via telephone, SMS, Twitter and Facebook as well as follow the debate live on television and radio.
The first National Dialogue Council took place on 28 June 2003 and has been held each year since.
Umushyikirano aims to be a leading example of participatory and inclusive governance. It is hoped that by directly engaging with their leaders, Rwandans feel part of the decision making that affects their lives. Umushyikirano also serves as a forum for Rwandans to hold their leaders and government to account.
Once a participant has asked a question, either in person, via Twitter, Facebook, SMS, the web or phone, the leader responsible for that area responds. All questions asked are recorded.