The cleanliness of Kigali’s streets has spread across the country thanks to Francois Mvuyekure. He is the Director of Ikodera Company, he explains how his team maintains cleanliness within the city.
“I was requested by Kigali City Council (KCC) early in 1998 to plant flowers and trees along most streets. I also had to employ people to keep it clean all the time.
It was not an easy task but today I am overwhelmed when Kigali is considered among the cleanest cities in the region and Africa at large,” Mvuyekure said.
Many say the 69-year-old Mvuyekure is a patient, trustworthy and kind man. Indeed, his character entails the common saying, ‘Experience is the best teacher’.
He is responsible for most Kigali streets and employs several people. The famous roundabout below Union Trade Center (UTC) is his master piece.
“We planted all the palm trees and most flowers in the city. When they flourish we trim them while at the same time re-plant the palm trees that are knocked down by careless drivers,” Mvuyekure explains.
Not all flowers can survive on the streets; there are several reasons why it’s the ‘Duranta’ flowers that are more significant on the pavements of Kigali city.
“There are specific flowers that are meant to be planted in specific places as a result of weather conditions. Some flowers wither really fast that they can’t survive the conditions on the streets. Most flowers require constant watering,” says Mvuyekure.
He further recalls an incident when flowers his company planted withered in less than three months.
“Some extremely eye-catching flowers were planted along the pavements of the Parliament road, but they withered even before they blossomed,” he said.
“We face different challenges in gardening especially in the dry season since most plants wither even with regular watering,” he adds.
Ikodera Company has a nursery bed or seeding bed with different flowers, however, the palm trees are supplied by Kigali City Council.
“The palm trees are expensive to maintain that is why drivers are fined Rwf one million per tree that is knocked down.
Some people feel it’s unfair but if they knew its worth especially in maintenance then they would understand that the penalty is worth it,” Mvuyekure explains.
Regarding his choice of career, he said: “It’s the passion I have for gardening that made me take up the project. Caring for plants especially flowers is something that is captivating and I love what I do.”
He further adds that Ikodera Company was a Local Defense Association before August 2009.
“In 2009, I and my colleagues were advised by Rwanda Development Board and Rwanda Revenue Authority to form a company since associations were outdated.
It was a good idea for the business prospects and it simplifies the work conditions as well as paying taxes,” he explains.
His company employs several people who sweep the streets and trim the flowers under supervision.
Daniel Uwimana is a supervisor at Ikodera Company and he heads a group of 35 people that clean the streets of Kigali.
“I have worked for the company for the past eight years. We start cleaning the streets at 6:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m daily, with exceptions of some who work till 9:00 p.m. Working with Mvuyekure extremely inspired me because he is very hard working,” Uwimana said.
He adds that Mvuyekure has a soft spot for his employees. “He constantly advises us and even helps when we have personal problems.”
Besides being a hardworking man, Mvuyekure is a father and husband. He has been married for the last 38 years and is blessed with five sons and three daughters.
Music: - Kinyarwanda Music
Soccer team: - Kiyovu Sports Club (Local)and Manchester United.