EASTERN PROVINCE - President Paul Kagame has admonished owners of big chunks of land who might be using ‘under-hand’ methods to reclaim the land that has been allocated to others.
He made the call at Kabarore, in Gatsibo district, on the third day of the ongoing land redistribution exercise in the Eastern Province. He said some who have had their farms re-demarcated may have started using tricks such as conniving with unauthorized people to lay claim to part of the land so that they can give it back to them later.
Kagame suspected some may have even gone to the extent of enlisting their house helps to claim the land, but warned serious measures will be taken against those who will be caught in the act.
In this sector, the President presided over the task of re-distributing two farms belonging to local government minister Protais Musoni and ex-parliamentarian Brig Gen (rtd) Sam Kanyemera Kaka and their families.
The farms are located in the two sectors of Kabarore and Ngarama, both in Gatsibo District.
Both Musoni and his brother Maj Theoneste Shyaka retained the standard 25 hectares each, down from the massive 351 hectares they originally owned between them.
Beneficiaries here were livestock farmers as well as cultivators. The former got 10 hectares, whereas the latter secured two hectares each.
It was the same case with Kaka’s farm, 115 hectares big. He retained 25 and the rest of it was distributed among other people.
Here, Kagame repeated what he has often told leaders; they should play an exemplary role in the entire exercise, for they are there to solve the masses’ problems, instead of being part of the problems.
The President said he highly suspected there might still be former owners of large pieces of land, who are tempted to play dirty games by fronting their proxies as new beneficiaries.
To combat this vice, he proposed that apart from the people who have been residing on those farms such as former owners’ relatives, the rest of the beneficiaries must come from different parts of the province.
He urged members of the commission charged with the re-distribution work to ensure that beneficiaries are the neediest of the lot. Kagame said today’s leaders have a duty to be different from those of the past, lest they be characterised as indifferent to the people’s plight.
He categorically stated that any contrary behaviour would not be tolerated.
He said that leaders should strive to implement the policies, the initiating process of which they have been part.
Meanwhile later in the day, the President travelled to Mirundi sector in Kayonza District to preside over re–distribution there, of the land formerly belonging to two other generals, Charles Kayonga Frank Rusagara.
Rusagara, who so far had the record largest chunk of land among those so far dispossessed, was a proud owner of 387 hectares, whereas Kayonga possessed 334 hectares. Just as in Gatsibo, the two retained 25 hectares each and the rest went to the landless.
Kagame, like he has been observing since the beginning of the exercise, said there is no other option but nourishing the culture of sharing the little available. He made a passionate appeal for other survival means to be devised other than land because even this re-distribution is not a permanent solution.
Remember, he pointed out; the population is growing against a static size of land. The thousands present murmured in agreement. He also urged people to employ modern methods of farming for better output on the smallest available land.
The exercise which started Tuesday resumes next week on Monday in Ndego and Nasho sectors of Kayonza and Kirehe districts respectively.