Investors and officials yesterday commissioned the start of construction works in Busanza area of Kigali City’s Kicukiro District where new homes for what is popularly known as Bannyahe slum residents will be built.
The project in Busanza where 1024 dwelling units will be built by Savannah Creek Development Company will benefit residents from Kigali’s largest slum locally known as Bannyahe that occupies three villages of Kangondo I, Kangondo II, and Kibiraro I in Gasabo District.
While commissioning the project in Busanza, city businessman Denis Karera said that it will make a difference for slum residents who are currently living in a high risk area in unplanned settlements.
Karera is the Chairperson of Gold Capital Investments, a Kigali-based company that has partnered with a Finnish company, Taaleri Africa, to create Savannah Creek Development Company.
The latter has planned to invest $56million (about Rwf 47.6billion) to develop the slum into decent residential estates.
Of the $56 million, $12 million (about Rwf 10 billion) will be invested in building housing units for former slum residents in exchange for their expropriated properties.
Karera also said that the estate in Busanza will have important amenities for occupants such as playing areas, a modern market, a workshop hall for people to practice different crafts, as well as a central sewerage system.
He said that the project will be completed in December 2018 and called for the cooperation of local residents and officials in Busanza to make the project a success.
“We need your good cooperation so that we can successfully implement this project,” he said.
The slums in Bannyahe will be razed and replaced by modern residential estates in line with Kigali City’s Master plan that aims to build the city in a planned way.
While speaking at the commissioning of Busanza project, the Mayor of the City of Kigali (CoK), Pascal Nyamurinda, said that the project will help the city move forward in its plans to promote organised settlement.
“The project will help fast-track the implementation of the Master plan for Kigali City and it should be well received by people,” he said.
But there has been resistance from some residents from the slums who don’t want to swap their properties for the housing units in Busanza and would instead prefer to be paid for what their properties are worth.
The Mayor of Gasabo District, Stephen Rwamurangwa, told The New Times that about 10 per cent of landlords have agreed to take compensation in new homes while 90 per cent still resist the idea and would rather receive money for their properties.
Karera argues that money doesn’t end unplanned dwelling as it moves it somewhere else and that’s why he has been working with city officials to convince the slum residents to take up new housing units in Busanza as their compensation.
Among other officials, the event in Busanza was also attended by the State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and East African Community Affairs, Amb. Olivier Nduhungirehe, in his capacity as the focal point minister representing Gasabo District.
He said that the government has welcomed the project as it is likely to improve the lives of slum dwellers who will get decent amenities like markets and schools.