City hotel demolition was technical – Gasabo District

The Gasabo District Director of Department of Lands, John Rukabu, has shed more light on the recent demolition of the Nyarutarama based Hotel building saying the reason behind it was exclusively technical.
Gasabo Mayor Claudine Nyinawagaga, flanked by John Rukabu during the interview yesterday. (Photo G Barya).
Gasabo Mayor Claudine Nyinawagaga, flanked by John Rukabu during the interview yesterday. (Photo G Barya).

The Gasabo District Director of Department of Lands, John Rukabu, has shed more light on the recent demolition of the Nyarutarama based Hotel building saying the reason behind it was exclusively technical.

Accompanying Mayor Claudine Nyinawagaga, Rukabu was speaking to The New Times in an exclusive interview at Remera sector yesterday.

“Waste Water treatment is stipulated in the City Master Plan, the extension we demolished was not indicating how sewage system would be catered for,” Rukabu said.

“The investor did not give us an option, he asked for permission to renovate after he had built the flat extension. That was pre-empting my judgment as a technical person.”

The Mayor supported Rukabu’s argument saying the hotel did not have breathing space which posed insecurity to future clients and residents in the neighbourhood.

“We don’t want to demolish any building for no reason, we demolish for security reasons,” Nyinawagaga said.

“Some people think in Rwanda you will breach the law and use influence, which is not the case.”

On the question whether the allegations of a personal grudge between the mayor and the investor, Nyinawagaga said that there were no wrangles between them, saying that the decision was made to protect the citizens she leads in Gasabo District.

The investor’s wife declined to talk to The New Times until her husband comes back next week. However, evidence found in the correspondence letters of which The New Times has seen indicates that the investor recognizes having exceeded limits. 

A Statement from Clare Akamanzi Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Rwanda Development Board (RDB) articulates that demolition incident was unfortunate for everyone involved.

“No one questions that the letter of the law was violated,” The statement read in parts.

“RDB plans to explore the appropriate remedy which strikes a balance between strict code interpretation and productive development so that such incidents should never happen to anyone.”

In the same statement, Akamanzi urged investors to have all the permits before they initiate their projects.

Chantal Rugamba, the Deputy CEO in charge of Tourism, said there are efforts to see how they can sreamline procedures to save the tourism industry in future.

“It was sad such an incident happened, but still, we must see how best the law can be respected. The wife conceded she did not have the authorization to build that extension,” Rugamba said.

“We have shortage of Hotel rooms but we must cover the gap while following the law.” She said that Rwanda has only 3,552 hotel rooms and needs 6000 rooms by at least 2012.

Gasabo District authorities demolished part of a hotel building in Nyarutarama belonging to the S.A Hotel Group. 

The value of the destroyed property was estimated at Rwf50 million. The company owned by British nationals had earmarked Rwf 5bn to invest in the luxury hotel project.

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