Court throws out Byannyahe case, cites procedural flaws

According to court, the plaintiff never took their case to the City of Kigali, the administrative entity above the district, which was necessary before they could bring it to court.
The petitioners coming out of Gasabo Intermediate Court on Monday. / Kelly Rwamepera

Gasabo Intermediate Court in Kigali dismissed the case filed by residents of Kangondo I and Kangondo II zones who had petitioned the court in protest of the way they were being expropriated for their property to relocate.

The two zones make up what is commonly known as Bannyahe, located right next to the upscale Nyarutarama area in Remera Sector and believed to be the largest slum in Kigali.

The area has secured an investor who plans to develop it into a modern residential zone with different amenities.

Through the district, the investor is developing another estate in the Busanza area in Kicukiro District where they will be relocated, but the Bannyahe residents say they would rather take money instead of new homes.

This informed their decision to take Gasabo District to court.

However, before the case could start in substance, the district’s lawyer, Justin Niyo Rushikama, submitted that there were flaws in the procedures through which the applicants filed the case.

Court on Monday ruled in the affirmative.

Among the flaws include the fact that the residents never petitioned authorities above the district before going to court as a last resort as required in administrative cases.

The other flaw was that the petitioners purporting to represent other residents were found to not have power of attorney.

According to court, the plaintiff never took their case to the City of Kigali, the administrative entity above the district, which was necessary before they could bring it to court.

Court also faulted the plaintiff for not paying court charges for each of the over 700 individual involved in the case.

The complainants had filed one case for which they paid a single court fee for all of them, claiming that they shared the same cause and so no need of each paying for the fees.

The court said since the district wants to expropriate individuals by allocating them houses commensurate to the value of their current individual property, it was incumbent upon every household involved in the petition to pay their own court fees.

“The court fees paid was only for one individual Antoinette Mushimiyimana who does not represent the whole group,” the presiding judge ruled.

However, Mushimiyimana was not allowed to have her case heard in substance because of the initial breach of not having petitioned city authorities before going to court.

Residents can either appeal the court ruling or embark on fulfilling the procedures required by the court and file their case again.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw