Residents of Kayonza have complained over delays to compensate them for property and land lost in 2008 to pave way for construction of feeder roads in the town.
The affected residents are from Bwiza, Nyagatovu and Kayonza cells in Mukarange Sector.
The residents were due to be compensated to create room for expansion of feeder roads as was provided by the master plan of the town.
More than 100 people were supposed to be expropriated at more than Rwf58 million.
The New Times spoke to some of affected residents, who say they were unfairly treated by the district.
Juvenal Rusarira, a resident of Kayonza Cell, faulted the local leaders for failing to live up to their promise.
“They took us for granted. We now count eight years, suppose we were to count interests? I was supposed to be given Rwf700,000, a measly compensation in itself, but no leader is bothered,” he said.
Harriette Mukarurangwa, a 30-year-old mother of four, said her family lost a house and some plantains.
She said although the roads were meant for the good of the community, the construction was not supposed to be done at the expense of families.
“We have been complaining for ages. It’s as if ours is a ‘God’s case’ that we can’t appeal. Our house used to fetch us at least Rwf40,000 per month; we fed our children on the bananas. They are all gone and no compensation,” Mukarurangwa said.
Didace Burakari, one of those supposed to be compensated, said he received part of the money.
“I was given Rwf1.5 million instead of Rwf2.5 million. I am still waiting for the balance. I don’t know why it is taking ages, actually many people have not got even a coin,” he said.
What went wrong?
Authorities in Kayonza claim that the process was derailed by the disappearance of the list containing the names and other particulars of people who were supposed to be compensated.
Officials claim that this list ‘disappeared’ during the reign of former mayor Damas Muhororo.
The ‘missing list’ has since put the District Executive Committee and Advisory Council at loggerheads.
According to the current mayor, John Mugabo, the saga has taken several years.
“We have been having issues with the advisory council over the years, they have been telling us to compensate the people but this would be difficult without supporting documents,” Mugabo said.
He said amid pressure from various authorities, the list, designed like a booklet, suddenly surfaced.
“Some council members had been hiding the booklet, there is no doubt about that. It is a year since the advisory council started pressurising us to pay the people,” Mugabo said.
The mayor also told The New Times that the details of the book do not reflect the reality on the ground.
“From the document, Rwf58 million was due in compensation, but when we went on the ground, only Rwf8 million was found to be the real claim. The claims were grossly inflated,” he said.
Mugabo added that the compiled list is not signed against by any of the parties involved.
“My predecessor Muhororo told me the original booklet had all signatures and was stamped. But the one I saw has none,” he added.
Jean Baptiste Butera, the chairperson of the District Advisory Council, however, said councillors were not to blame for the missing book.
“We inherited a lot of mess in the expropriation saga in Mukarange Sector. The missing book must be hiding many irregularities,” Butera said.
“There are two people who were fully compensated, but why was it so selective? The book is hiding many things and the mayor’s office should be more knowledgeable, because there was a handover,” he added.