HUYE – Provincial Governor Fidele Ndayisaba is optimistic that the province will meet the January 15 deadline set for the return of cows under the ‘One cow per poor household program’ which had been distributed fraudulently.
In December last year, government ordered the return of over 17,000 cows that were distributed under the locally known ‘Girinka’ program after it emerged during the 7th National dialogue that the programme was grossly abused.
In an interview with The New Times, Ndayisaba was positive about the recall exercise.
“The exercise has been well received after a vigorous sensitisation campaign. Poor local leaders who had benefited from the program have been made to understand that they have to put first the interests of the people they lead,” he said.
The Governor noted that other categories of beneficiaries like Gacaca judges who had previously benefited from the program will be helped through other poverty alleviation programs.
“We want to maintain the objective of the program which is to help poor families out of poverty. This cannot be achieved if the cows go to local leaders and the well-to-do families.”
In Nyaruguru district, 645 cows out of 684 have so far been recovered. According to the district Mayor Felix Sibomana, residents have been cooperative during the exercise.
“The exercise is going on smoothly, we are remaining with the sectors of Busanze, Ruheru, Nyabimata, Muganza and Kivu. We are optimistic that the exercise will be concluded on time,” Sibomana said.
In Huye district, out of the 382 cows targeted for repossession, 328 have been recovered and redistributed. According to Mayor Francois Uhagaze, the programme is going as planned.
“We have a few cases of cows that were sold, those that died and those whose previous owners cannot be traced. We are in consultations to find a solution to these few remaining cases,” said Uhagaze.
In Gisagara, out of the 518 cows listed for repossession, 440 have been recovered and re-distributed. Mayor Leandre Karekezi, added that the exercise was slowed down by residents who refused to divulge information concerning the program.
“It took us great effort to sensitise the local residents about the exercise, we are happy that they finally realised the importance,” he said.
According to Alphonse Munyentwari, the Nyamagabe district Mayor, by the end of last week 89 cows had been recovered out of the targeted 353. He expressed optimism that the exercise would be completed by January 15.
Over 70,000 cows have been distributed since the inception of the program in 2006. The programme targets the distribution of about 250,000 cows to poor households in the country.