Ubudehe categories to be reviewed

Officials tour Gikomero model village that houses some people in the first and second Ubudehe categories. Sam Ngendahimana.

The Ministry of Local Government and Social Affairs is set to begin an exercise that will establish new Ubudehe social stratification for all Rwandans.

The exercise will be conducted by the Local Administrative Entities Development Agency (LODA) and seeks to ascertain the true economic status of each Rwandan household.


Currently, there are four Ubudehe categories with the first category designated for the poorest people in society while the fourth category is for the wealthiest members of society.


Laetitia Nkunda, Director General of LODA, told The New Times that; “We are starting consultation with different people including civil society, media and Rwandans in general in order to see what to change and what to include in (the) new Ubudehe categories.”


Every three years, Ubudehe categories are updated in order to identify the best practices, challenges and gaps and make necessary changes to the system, she said.

Government is yet to decide on whether to maintain the existing Ubudehe categories.

This year’s exercise, Nkunda said, will be based mainly on people’s views and aspirations in order to address some of the complaints about the categorisation.

“We want to consult citizens and respond to their complaints. We want to put in more effort compared to the previous process,” she said.

He added: “We want them (citizens) to be frank with us and tell us the real problems they face with these Ubudehe categories so that we search for durable solutions. We want them to feel more concerned and understand their contribution to improve this categorisation system.”

In the past, some citizens voiced concerns over being placed in wrong categories.

Timothy Semana, a resident of Busesamana sector in Nyanza District, said that, “Some people have been put into the third category while they don’t have anything. They are not able to pay for Mutuelle de Santé or even afford the basic needs which they would get with the help of the Government if they would have been categorised rightly.”

The current Ubudehe categories have been in place since July 2016.

The first category is made up of 1.5 million Rwandans or 16 per cent of the population. It is composed of people with no means to own or rent homes of their own and can hardly put food on the table.

The second category is made up of 3.1 million people, accounting for 29.8 per cent of the population. These have part time small jobs and either own cheap houses or are able to pay rent.

The third category, which has more people than the rest, is made up of around 5.8 million, and these don’t need help from the Government for survival. They include farmers, professionals, and business owners.

The fourth category is made up of people deemed to be rich such as government officials from the level of director upwards, and large business owners.


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