The recent incident in Burera District where a church collapsed during service should be a wakeup call for local leaders and authorities in the construction sector to keep close watch on the infrastructure that comes up in their respective areas to prevent putting up of illegal structures.
The New Year’s Day incident, that left four worshipers dead and over 30 injured, follows a similar one two years back, in the same district when another church collapsed killing five people and injuring 14. This is a pattern we cannot allow to continue yet we have rules and regulations governing the construction industry and authorities to enforce it.
A subsequent report indicated that owners of churches in this particular district do not follow standard construction guidelines.
Among the most shocking revelations by the probe team was the fact that the ill-fated church, which hosted the New Year service before it could be completed, was being constructed by members of the congregation, irrespective of their technical abilities as qualified builders.
This is something that should not be allowed to continue. All districts have engineers that are paid from the public coffers to do that work.
Instead of waiting for such inevitable incidents to take place so that they can probe the cause, they should unfold their arms, go to the field and inspect any infrastructure project that is ongoing in their jurisdiction, to ensure that it meets the construction criteria.
The grassroots leaders should also keep watch all the time, by following up on a daily basis progress on such projects in their areas, after all, that is the least expected of them.