RE: “Talks between CoK officials, slum residents hit deadlock” (The New Times, January 25).
The City of Kigali is out of touch with the slum residents. For example, the mayor was wearing a suit and tie. This sends a negative message to his audience. Some will just think he’s telling and showing them that he is better off than them. How does he expect the people to relate to him then?
Secondly, the mayor seemed to suggest that the residents have no choice but to leave since it is the law. But the law does not say that residents must be forced to relocate to a place of someone else’s choosing. People have the right to live where they want. And the law stipulates that people have the right to due compensation for their property.
This is what the city mayor should do:
1. Make a list of the slum residents who settled there before the master plan was announced, and compensate them accordingly. I wonder if the Kigali Master Plan had been fully communicated to the stakeholders, including the slum dwellers.
2. Give residents an option of owning homes once the new houses are completed. Give them the timeline, then ask them if they would be willing to come back.
3. Listen to the wishes of the people, address their issues, but don’t be a dictator. Their views/wishes/demands are very important.