“We Are Helping to Make Decentralization Happen!”

Jul 29, 2016

An event centred on decentralization organized by the Governorate of the province of North Kivu with the support of the United Nations Development Programme was held on 9 and 10 June in Goma. It was an opportunity for stakeholders involved in decentralization on the ground to meet up. The aim was to establish an open dialogue between decentralized territorial entities and the province and achieve better collaboration between these two levels of governance. “This meeting on decentralization comes at exactly the right time for a number of the entities involved,” said Anicet Samvura, Administrative Secretary of the chefferie of Bwisha.

The chefferie of Bwisha is indeed a long way ahead of its peers. Supported by UNDP since 2008, it boasts a local development plan that is being implemented and is bearing fruit. “In Rutshuru, we have a 13-megawatt power station which supplies electricity to several villages – people from Goma are really jealous!” explains Anicet proudly. The power station, built with UNDP support, is one of the outcomes of a round table where technical and financial partners committed to lend their support to a number of projects included in the local development plan: their support amounted to 42 million US dollars. The Matabe dam project is the result of the chefferie lobbying the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN). The project formed part of the 2012-2016 local development plan.

In addition, as far as local public funding is concerned, the chefferie has significantly increased its assigned income, the minimum personal tax that it receives, as well as various other taxes. These contributions enable projects included in their local development plan to be funded.

Another area, but the same situation

The traditional chefferie of Watalinga is located in the north-east of the Beni territory. Its status is rather unusual – “The chefferie was founded on traditions; the head of the chefferie is appointed by customary methods. Cohesion is clearly visible in its various leaders. The law recognises that the leader cannot be elected, but must be appointed according to the customs and practices of the chefferie,” explains Saa-Mbili Bamkoka, Mwami (chief) of Watalinga.

The chefferie forms part of three similar entities supported by UNDP in the province of North Kivu under the governance acceleration and participative local development programme. “Today, the fact that we are at this stage of decentralization is thanks to UNDP and the four capacity-building seminars on local governance that it held for us,” adds the Mwami. The chefferie has restructured its local tax collection department, which has allowed it to increase its income significantly. “With the income received, I have already built premises for the tax collection department workers. We are now completing the building of a large office with a large multipurpose hall so that we can reach out to the general public.”

The Mwami nevertheless regrets the fact that these meetings only take place twice a year because “there are a lot of logistic issues, and it is those issues that we are going to discuss with the provincial authorities today,” he concludes.

The United Nations Development Programme supported the Governorate of the province of North Kivu in organising the Goma meeting on decentralisation through its governance acceleration and participative, inclusive and sustainable local development programme in the stabilized areas of North Kivu (PAGDL) known as “Uongozi na maendeleo bora”. The programme is headed jointly by UNDP and UNCDF in partnership with MONUSCO. It aims to address the root causes of current conflicts and to initiate a transition towards sustainable development and peace in the province of North Kivu.            

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