Relief for farmers as Gatsibo, Nyagatare boundaries are shifted

Charles Nkubito, 72, who received 10 hectares of land in 2014, said having documents for their land will allow them do agribusiness and pay land lease. Jean de Dieu Nsabimana.

In 2014, 72-year-old Charles Nkubito received 10 hectares of land from the Government.

Secured through the land redistribution programme, Nkubito, was tasked to transform the land into a more productive asset through farming.

The land in question is located in Karangazi Sector, bordering Nyagatare Gatsibo districts.

However, Nkubito’s attempts to secure ownership rights for his property and other land related services hit a dead-end.

Nyagatare District officials informed him that coordinates showed that his land was geographically located in Rwimbogo Sector of Gatsibo District. 

As a result, he could not secure land related services from any of the two districts.

Nkubito is one of the 57 families that have suffered a similar dilemma.

Richard Gasana, the Mayor of Gatsibo District, said nobody in the district was aware that the coordinates identifies the area as Gatsibo.

The problem will now become a thing of the past after Gatsibo and Nyagatare districts agreed to shift their boundaries. This will see land in question go to Nyagatare.

“We have never given any services to people from this area; whether civil registration services or even just meeting them to talk about the challenges that affect them,” he said, adding that in order to access the area district officials would be required to go through Gabiro Combat Training Centre, which is complex.

Nkubito said: “It was very hard because we were not even sure if the land belonged to us.”

According to Nkubito, the uncertainty restricted them from developing the land.

“Now we are going to do what the country wants us to do. You know paying taxes is one of the ways through which the country develops; imagine spending six years without paying tax for land lease,” Nkubito

The residents’ national identity cards also identified them as residents of Nyagatare yet their land was located in Gatsibo.

Claudian D. Mushabe, the Mayor of Nyagatare District, said: “We do not have a problem with each other. This happened because of the collaboration between the two districts.”

Fred Mufulukye, the Governor of Eastern Province, said the problem was identified by a commission in charge of assessing how the land that government distributed to people in Nyagatare, Kayonza, Kirehe and Gatsibo was being used.

The commission recently recommended that government repossess land from 20 farmers it said failed to make it productive.

Potin Muvara, Registrar of Land Titles in Eastern Province, said they are allowed to alter borders if both district councils meet, with supervision of a provincial governor and a lands official.

“Our proposal is that the borders follow something natural, and what seems natural in this district is the frontiers of Gabiro Combat Training Centre,” he said.

The new boundary will be situated between Akagera National Park and the Combat Training Centre.