Church-Gasabo up in arms over land

GASABO - The Evangelical Restoration Church (ERC), Rwanda, has taken to task Gasabo district for refusing to evict someone the church expropriated two years ago.The standoff is attributed to the refusal by Bernadette Nyiramuhanda, one of the expropriated people, to vacate the land despite having been paid for her property.

GASABO - The Evangelical Restoration Church (ERC), Rwanda, has taken to task Gasabo district for refusing to evict someone the church expropriated two years ago.
The standoff is attributed to the refusal by Bernadette Nyiramuhanda, one of the expropriated people, to vacate the land despite having been paid for her property.

According to Marcel Kamanzi, the church’s officer in-charge of construction, the land, was acquired by the church after expropriating former occupants at a cost Rwf 78m, to construct a multipurpose complex worth $66m that would include a 20,000-seater cathedral, a clinic, schools, a sports ground and a children’s park.

He revealed that the defiant lady is demanding Rwf 84m, which is 10 times the money she had received during the 2007 expropriation exercise.

“Nyiramuhanda is now valuing her property basing on current rates, but we had already paid her, and the payments were made through the district.

So it is their responsibility to ensure that she vacates,” Kamanzi said.

John Rukabu, the Director of Lands in Gasabo District, had earlier claimed that he could not comment on the land saga because the church had taken the case before courts.
But Kamanzi, yesterday refuted Rukabu’s allegations that the church had taken the district to court.

“We did not take the district to court. I believe he was just trying to dodge your question(s).” Kamanzi said.

“I have been in touch with Rukabu for so long and I am sure he knows our case very well, only that he deliberately refused to comment on it”.

But when contacted again yesterday, Rukabu said he has no authority to speak to the press.

The complex to be known as “Kigali International Prayer Mountain” (KIPM) is expected to be complete in 2015 in four phases, the first phase being construction of the cathedral.

Efforts to talk to the district mayor, Claudine Nyinawagaga, were futile as she could not answer her phone.

Meanwhile, Nyinawagaga last week announced that the district had temporarily halted expropriations to allow developers first make use of the 350 hectares of land already allocated.

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