Govt reinstates ownership of 12,000 pieces of land to locals

A 3D Render of a Topographic Map of Remera in Kigali on February 21. / Net photo.

After a countrywide state land registration exercise conducted in the last fiscal year, the Government has reinstated ownership of land to a total of 12,369 people, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Political Affairs and Gender heard Friday.

The Minister for Environment,  Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, told the committee that the registration had concluded with the Government owning a total of 485,562 pieces of land.


Mujawamariya was in parliament to shed light on matters raised by the Ombudsman in his 2018/2019 annual report regarding land that belonged to the locals that was taken by the government and vice versa.


“The process was to register land that had previously been under the supervision of ministries and other institutions and have it registered as the property of the government, through the ministry that has land as part of its mandate,” she said.


The current status

Citing the Western Province as an example, Mujawamariya said that 736 pieces of land that had been registered as government property under the Ministry of Agriculture were later returned to locals.

“In the same province, it was discovered that 2,769 pieces that had been registered under the ministry of natural resources (now Ministry of Environment) as wetlands only for a verification process to prove otherwise. Today, that land is being allocated with a 900 pieces of land having already been distributed,” she said.

Govt land reclaimed

Mujawamariya said, in the process, the Government was also able to have its land that had been taken by locals returned.

For instance, in Southern Province, 379 pieces of land have already been returned to government.

A total of 2,336 pieces of land were found during state land registration to be occupied by locals yet they belong to the government.

She pointed out that it was decided that by the end of February this year, every district is required to write to the local that have been using land that has been identified as the government’s, to present documents supporting the ownership.

“In this letter, the locals will be given a deadline to present these documents and if they exceed it, these papers will be nullified in accordance to the law,” she said.

In Western Province, 22 pieces of land that had been taken over by locals have so far already been registered under the government name.

However, it was discovered that 3,949 pieces of land were found to be registered under locals’ names yet they are government property.

It was noted that most of this land was gained by government after expropriation but the required documents were not complete for the government to be able to register the land under its name.  

While presenting his 2018/2019 annual report last year, the Ombudsman, Anastase Murekezi, told members of both chambers of parliament that the leading type of cases his office receives are land related.

Murekezi told the parliamentarians that of the 1,091 cases filed with the Ombudsman requesting retrial on the basis of unfairness, 851 were civil lawsuits, mostly which are land-related.

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