RUBAVU – Gisenyi Sector residents in Rubavu District have threatened to drag the district to court over an impending eviction.
The district issued eviction orders recently instructing over 500 families in Rubavu and Gisenyi sectors to vacate their areas before the end of August.
However, the residents who spoke to The New Times complain that they were not given ample time. They also say that they have not been compensated to enable them offset relocation costs.
“We met district officials on July 27, 2009. That is when they informed us of the impending eviction. There are also radio announcements ordering us to evacuate within one month.
This is unfair, if we cannot be assured of an amicable solution we will end up dragging the district to court for us to seek redress at another level,” an angry resident who wanted to meet the mayor over this issue said.
“I cannot understand what these people are doing; imagine a local leader who goes out of his way to evacuate residents without any form of expropriation. This is illegal as it is contrary to the laws of this country,” another resident who gave his name only as Mukabarame said.
When contacted for a comment, vice Mayor in charge Economics, Evariste Bizimana explained that the decision was reached out of environmental concerns.
“We are set to resettle them in Byahi village which is an Umudugudu, in order to conserve that area which is hilly. We have spoken to them several times in meetings regarding this move,” Bizimana said.
The Vice Mayor added that in the relocation programme, residents will be mobilised to build the new houses for those settling in designated locations with financial aid from the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA).
A sizable number of the residents argued that the district should instead consider relocating them near the town centre instead of the designated location within Byahi village.