Residents of Gisagara District are in seventh heaven following a pledge by President Paul Kagame to give them their first tarmac road. One would be forgiven to think that a 14-kilometre road is not something to write home about, but it is big deal to residents.
Now that the relevant government agencies have announced that the required resources have been mobilized, the ball is now in Gisagara residents’ court.
For many years many districts in the southern part of the country were marginalized, especially during Juvenal Habyarimana’s rule, which, on top of the entrenched ethnic discrimination, he also introduced regional discrimination.
Every good thing went north, every major project, every good job, all good roads. North was where Habyarimana and his cronies originated. It encompassed the former Gisenyi, Ruhengeri and Byumba prefectures.
Today that bad history is still haunting many districts that were kept away from the national dinner table for long. Gisagara and Nyaruguru are some of them. It is not a surprise that those districts usually trail others during evaluations of performance contracts (Imihigo).
Their residents grew up with an inferiority complex as if they were condemned to failure. Otherwise, how can one explain the fact that despite Gisagara bordering Burundi, there was little or no cross-border trade of significance unlike other border districts?
Linking Gisagara to Huye town will help remove residents out of isolation, they will be able to easily take their goods to bigger markets and a tarmac road will attract investments. The rod project is not a trial by error; it has been tested before.
Access to market is the key; it is what opens many doors. So Gisagara residents need have no excuses because in today’s Rwanda opportunities are there for all, they just need to seize the moment.