Information about one’s plot remains a challenge to most Rwandans but Kigali dwellers express a particular concern because relocation is always on their minds.
Each district in the city has its own master plan that details what must be done in each particular area but many are unaware of what is planned for their locations.
The revelation follows reports that some city dwellers were in 2013 denied construction permits because the kind of structures they wanted to raise weren’t within the design of the master plan.
In a mini survey carried out by The New Times, those relocated from Lower Kiyovu in Nyarugenge District to Batsinda in Gasabo District in 2008, said they were worried because of rumours about their second relocation.
“We hear we are going to be relocated again. We have heard rumours that this area is planned for storied buildings not modest houses like ours. We recently saw some ‘white’ people taking photos of this place,” said an elderly Vitar Rutayisire.
He said he had never seen the master plan, adding that it is kept at the Sector office and shown only to people seeking construction permits.
Francine Uwiragiye, a resident of Batsinda, shares Rutayisire’s concerns.
“Whether we move or not, we have no idea what the master plan has for us and the local leaders are not telling us anything,” she said.
Batsinda residents said having information on the master plan will help them plan their activities accordingly.
They added that sometimes they avoid undertaking projects because for fear that they will be destroyed once the master plan is implemented.
Residents of Muhima Sector, Nyarugenge District said they only hear about the Muhima master plan but have never seen it.
Clarisse Uwera, a temporary Muhima resident waiting for the City of Kigali to expropriate her, said if she had known before that her plot was reserved for a road, she would have opted for another place instead.
Frederic Harerimana, the Executive Secretary of Muhima Sector, said local leaders explain the master plan at various meetings but some people feel unconcerned.
Having found it as a serious problem, Harerimana said the sector held a meeting last month which decided that the sector team should get closer to the people and explain the master plan, an initiative which he said will start soon.
He is, however, not sure whether people will attend the meetings.
Kigali Urban Planner Joshua Ashimwe said they had previously been using a website to deliver master plan information but realised that many people did not have skills to use web services which are in English, hence decided to conduct a month-long campaign on master plan implementation at the sector level, scheduled to start in Nyarugenge District, tomorrow.
Ashimwe added that the One Stop Centre (OSC) is working on a system to enable people get master plan information on their mobile devices by texting the plot number. He said the system will be launched mid this year.
Among the challenges they face, Ashimwe said, OSC wants to connect the master plan information system to the land information system in order to have automatic change on the master plan in case there is a change on the land information and cited an example of someone who may split his land to sell plots to different people.
Master plan is a comprehensive long term plan intended to guide growth and development of an area.
It translates broad long-term strategies into detailed land use and zoning plans to guide the area’s development.
Kigali uses the 2013 master plan, which includes detailed district master plans for Nyarugenge, Gasabo and Kicukiro districts.
This master plan was adopted by Parliament and shows areas for urban centre; high, medium and low density, industrial, civic and resort, existing and proposed roads, lake, river and airport, among others.
In 2011, the law governing human habitation in the country was gazetted. It governs occupation and construction on lands reserved for human habitation and requires minimum infrastructure provision.