KIGALI - The Minister for Trade and Commerce (MINICOM); Monique Nsanzabaganwa, finally reached a consensus with members of the Lower Chamber of Parliament on how to handle the issue of national parks’s compenstions .
Last month, Nsanzabaganwa was put to task by Members of the Lower Chamber of parliament to explain why the government had delayed to compensate families who had lost lives and property as a result of attacks from animals straying from Akagera National Park.
At the time, the lawmakers rejected the Minister’s presentation of government’s roadmap on the protection of the population and their property saying that the report had been delivered to them late.
Nsanzabaganwa however took on all the nineteen MPs who praised her work but also observed that there was still work to be done to protect both the locals and the animals.
On the issue of why two years down the road,, aggrieved families were still stuck with death or injury complaints, Nsanzabaganwa explained that the government has categorized the compensation in three sections and payments made.
“Compensation is classified in three sections and is issued in three formulas. The first one is compensation to the family that has lost a loved one, the second is transport and medical costs plus some money to those who have been injured and the third is burial arrangements,” she explained.
Nsanzabaganwa explained that the government had taken measures that were helping curb the animal attacks.
This she explained, is being done through fencing off the national park, connecting water to the Rwimiyaga- Nyagatare area to discourage locals from fetching water from within or near national parks, and encouraging community policing; something that she says has proved to be very helpful.
Special Guarantee Fund
Nsanzabaganwa enlightened the lawmakers about the government’s plan to merge all victims of National Park attacks under one fund code named “Special Guarantee Fund”.
The Fund usually caters for traffic victims of hit-and-run or those injured in non-insured accidents.
MP Kanzaire was however not impressed by the news of this fund.
“Accidents and insurance companies are synonymous; I have no doubts about that. What I do not understand is the connection between traffic accidents and National Park accidents,” she asked.
Nsanzabaganwa replied that the issue of the Fund was still in the pipeline and was not yet concluded.
The Minister went ahead to explain that the government was killing animals that had escaped and were killing locals.
She however raised more questions when she said that the government was considering handing over animals that had escaped and failed to go back to parks to local authorities to rear or hunt down.
MP Musamakweli expressed his worry and confusion the handing over of animals to locals may cause.
“I don’t understand this. What do you mean when you say handover? Are you thinking of having locals erect zoos next to the national parks?” he asked.
To this, Nsanzabaganwa assured lawmakers that Rwanda had visited several countries that had the same National Park issues and the same method was successfully working as long as the animals were not harmful.
MP Alfred Gasana however asked parliament to make follow-ups that would ensure that the report is followed.
“We are clearly making progress with this roadmap. I hope that it won’t be here theoretically but will instead be followed up to see to its implementation,” he said.