NYANZA - Youth Minister Protais Mitali has expressed dissatisfaction with the big number of grass thatched houses in several districts of the Southern Province.
Speaking during a provincial coordination committee meeting on Tuesday, Mitali urged mayors in the province to prioritise the issue of eradicating grass thatched houses in the country so as to beat the June 2010 deadline set by the Cabinet.
A survey conducted by the Ministry of Local Government indicates that the Eastern and Southern Provinces as leading in having the biggest number of people still living in huts, with the latter having over 27,000 such houses.
“You have to tackle the issue of eradicating grass-thatched houses as a matter of urgency.
We do not expect to see such houses anywhere in the country by mid 2010,” said the Youth Minister.
Five districts in the province were found to have big numbers of such houses with Gisagara, Huye and Nyaruguru leading the pack.
Mayors from districts bordering Burundi told the meeting that most of these houses are owned by people who are ever on the move between the two countries.
“Many people living in sectors near the border prefer to occupy temporary shelters which are in most cases grass thatched,” said Felix Sibomana, the Mayor of Nyaruguru.
He however, said that a survey has been conducted in the district to determine the extent of the problem with the aim of sensitising residents on the best way to improve.
Abdullah Murenzi, the Mayor of Nyanza, district told the meeting of the need for a mindset change in the population.
“It is not uncommon to find someone with a Fresian cow and a big plantation still living in a grass thatched house. The task before us now is to sensitise such people on the merits of living in proper shelter,” said Murenzi, with over 2000 of his people still living in grass thatched houses.
The coordination meeting chaired by the provincial Governor; Fidele Ndayisaba also heard progress reports from districts in the agriculture sector.
Mayors expressed satisfaction with the progress of the planting season ‘A’ despite the rains coming a little bit late.