2000 facilities given ultimatum to relocate from city wetlands

Up to 2078 facilities in city wetlands have been given ultimatum to vacate.

The ultimatum that varies from one week to three months follows a crackdown mounted two weeks ago by the City of Kigali and environmental authorities.

During the exercise conducted by the city authorities, together with the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), five facilities had been closed down but after a meeting with the authorities, they reopened and are now working on relocating.

Without specifying major facilities to be affected by the notice, Bruno Rangira, the City spokesperson, told The New Times on Monday that all wetland encroachers will be evicted.
“They are in different categories but after consultation with concerned authorities, for some we extended the deadline for relocation to two or three months. For those who have no authorisation from authorities, they have one week to relocate. As for those with authorisation, we are still into negotiations but they will still relocate,” Rangira said adding that some have already begun vacating.
He said an assessment conducted by the city authorities revealed that there were 2078 activities conducted in city wetlands which will be affected.

The City mayor, Pascal Nyamulinda, explained that while there are some activities meant to be carried out in wetlands, they will not allow anyone to dispose of garbage in undesignated areas.

The Kigali city master plan suggests having environmentally friendly activities in the urban wetlands such as amusement parks and other activities that preserve the environment.

During a community work ‘Umuganda’ conducted in June this year, President Paul Kagame warned property owners with facilities located in wetlands that they should start relocating without waiting to be evicted.

He noted that some people transformed wetlands into farms, cultivatet them or built houses in them which he said is inappropriate.

Despite the warning, REMA and City of Kigali officials said some property owners in wetlands were adamant to leave which resulted into the September 13 crackdown.