The expropriation of households in the vicinity of Nyarugenge correctional facility in Mageragere will cost up to Rwf2.2 billion, it has emerged.
The valuation report has since been submitted to the Ministry of Justice for verification and subsequent action, according to a senior official with Nyarugenge District.
“The valuation process is complete but the next steps would have to be communicated by the Ministry of Justice and other stakeholders involved with this process,” said Emmy Ngabonziza, the District Executive Administrator.
This is not the first time that the property has been valued as the exercise had to be repeated after the initial method was contested.
The issue of Mageragere first came into the limelight in August last year after it attracted the attention of members of the parliamentary Standing Committee on National Unity, Human Rights and the Fight against Genocide.
Addressing the Minister for Justice and Attorney General Johnston Busingye, whose portfolio covers the day-to-day running of correctional facilities, MP Marie Pélagie Uwamariya Rutijanwa said at the time that the continued close proximity of residents to the prison was a result of poor expropriation methods.
She called for an urgent solution.
“When we visited, the prison authorities told us that they could not expand their activities due to the homesteads surrounding the facility. Also, the people living next to the prison are uncomfortable because of how close they are to the prisoners. It is unacceptable,” she said at the time.
Residents around the facility have expressed the wish to relocate, citing health risks linked to the correctional centre.
During a recent visit by The New Times, residents voiced concerns associated with bio-gas emissions from the facility.
Just a few metres from the parameter wall sits Beata Nyiraneza’s home. The mother of six, who recently gave birth to a pair of twins, told this publication that her wish was to be expropriated so that she could relocate her children to a healthier environment.
“The truth is that we are having a really hard time. The stench is unbearable. We wash our utensils and in no time, they are full of flies. The odour is so strong it sometimes wakes you up.”
Pelly Uwera Gakwaya, Spokesperson, Rwanda Correctional Service, told The New Times in a telephone interview that the process was delayed because the valuation had to be redone.
“There was an initial valuation but it hit a snag when some disagreements on how it was done arose so it was repeated,” he said.
Asked about the way forward, Gakwaya said: “For us to get this land, the local government has to do the expropriation and then hand over the property to us the same way they gave us the space on which the correctional facility was constructed.”
He said relocation of the residents will come with two major advantages: eliminate security threats posed to the prison and afford the facility more space for food production.
“We need more land for production...so we can grow more fruits and vegetables,” he said, adding that this benefits inmates.Follow https://twitter.com/Africannash