GITEGA October 2nd (ABP) – The Minister of Decentralization and Institutional Reform, Mr. Jean-Bosco Hitimana, opened the works of an exchange retreat for the reform of the process of evaluation of the performances of communes in Burundi. The opening of those works took place at the Accolade Hotel in Gitega (center) on Monday, September 30th, for the representatives of the ministries involved in that evaluation.

The aim of that three-day retreat is to provide participants with a framework for discussing the real, objective, verifiable and measurable criteria they will have to meet in order to better assess the performance of communes, the minister in charge of Decentralization said. The proposed reform will thus make it possible to better identify a real development of a commune in its various domains, in particular governance, local development, social protection and gender inclusion as well as the environmental protection.

Thus, the Ministry in charge of Decentralization has instituted the practice of assessing the performance of communes since 2010, to strengthen the quality of governance and the rational management of communes, as a result of the skills transferred. That annual exercise has allowed the communes a number of advances. As an illustration, most communes have realized their weaknesses and have been involved in improving themselves. The same ministry also organized capacity building sessions for sectors in difficulties.

However, Minister Hitimana pointed out, in the course of time, an in-depth analysis of the results of those evaluations, in correlation with the realities on the field in the communes, reveals organizational shortcomings of the process that must be taken up. Although the evaluation embraces several areas of the life of the commune, the fact remains that the objectivity and reliability of the criteria, so desired, are not compromised. As proof, for the majority of the evaluation criteria, the rating is based on the administrative documents accessible to the communal offices only, with the possibility of being manufactured or falsified the day before the evaluation, thus giving rise to fraud and cheating.

In addition, Minister Hitimana continued to say that the evaluation time that lasts a single day in all communes of the country is insufficient, with all the challenges that this may include, especially in terms of objectivity of criteria contained in the performance evaluation guide. To meet those challenges, it is necessary for the participants to discuss the reform of the evaluation process to be proposed, in order to better understand the actual development of a commune, in terms of performance. It would also be appropriate to take enough time to assess the life of a commune.

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