The Minister for Trade and Commerce (MINICOM), Moninique Nsanzabaganwa, was yesterday put to task by members of the Lower house to explain why the government had delayed to compensate families who lost lives and property as a result of attacks from animals of the Akagera National Park.
Nsanzabaganwa was in parliament to explain the government’s rooadmap on the protection of individuals and property around the parks.
She was tasked to explain why after two years, aggrieved families were still filing complaints.
“This report is here, it is a roadmap of what the government is doing to protect these people and their property. While the government needs to earn revenue out of the national parks, it also is making sure that the fundamental right to human life is recognised,” Nsanzabaganwa explained.
She pointed out to the Lawmakers that one of the measures that had been taken to protect the locals was to gundown six hippos that had escaped the national park and were killing people.
She also said that the government is putting final touches to a compensation fund draft law to govern it, as part of a process to compensate the aggrieved.
Referring to the report, Alfred Kayiranga questioned why the government was providing only two hundred thousand francs as funeral contribution saying that the money was very little.
“I am not very happy with this report. The Minister said that a sum of Rwf 200.000 is paid as contribution to the deceased’s family if one loses his or her life but this money can’t even buy a coffin, leave alone even soda for those attending the ceremony. Is this money worth someone’s life really?” he wondered.
Nzabaganwa had earlier told the lawmakers that as part of the roadmap, government had increased the funeral contribution from Rwf 50,000 to the current Rwf 200,000 which lawmakers still felt was too low.
Abbas Mukama was also quick to show his agitation.
“We were elected to protect the local population and their rights. I heard the Minister say that someone disappeared while fetching water from the dam. Why doesn’t she just say that she was killed by a crocodile since it’s now common knowledge that the woman is indeed dead?”
He said the report was not pointing out the problems the way it was supposed to.
Mukama reminded lawmakers that; “their job in the parliament was to provide answers to the people whose interests the government was supposed to protect.”
Lawmaker Bernadette Kanzayire, however, calmed the debate when she suggested that the plenary session be adjourned.
“Mr. Deputy Speaker, I would like to request that the plenary session closes shop today. I am sure that everybody agrees with me that this report was sent to us late. The procedures were not followed on time and we did not even get enough time to go through it,” she said.
The plenary was adjourned and a date for debating the report will be reset.