Two years after the Kigali City Mayor; Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kakira promised full public access to the Centenary gardens, the Ministry of Defence now says that the public will only get limited access, The New Times can exclusively reveal.
The gardens are located at the Ministry of Defence headquarters in Kimihurura.
The Ministry’s Spokesman, Maj. Jill Rutaremera said yesterday that like all gardens, the Centenary gardens have their own uniqueness which can be relied upon to determine the level of accessibility.
“Not all gardens are fully accessed by the public. There are limits and the uniqueness of the Centenary Gardens cannot allow full public access,” he said
Asked about the initial plans with the Kigali City Council, which commenced with the laying of the foundation stone, announcing the official opening of the gardens to the public, Rutaremera acknowledged the city authorities’ interest, but said the arrangement changed year later.
“Originally, the City Council and the Ministry of Defence had a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and later KCC signed a one-year maintenance and development contract which was not honoured,” he said. “The Ministry took over henceforth.”
Rutaremera said that the importance of the gardens were not only limited to recreation purposes but also for environmental benefits.
“They are a source of a clean and fresh air for everyone,” he said
The Director of Infrastructure in Kigali City; Reuben Ahimbisibwe, told The New Times that initially, the plan was to erect benches where the public could sit and enjoy the scenery.
The Ministry has however allowed the construction of walkways within the gardens.
Rutaremara reminded that his Ministry was still open to suggestions and welcomed the idea of KCC developing the gardens within the limits provided.