We should admit that land ownership is a serious issue

Editor, RE: “Land and population in Rwanda, a Malthusian trap?” (The New Times, April 26).
Land related conflicts are said to be among the common cases handled by courts of law. (File)
Land related conflicts are said to be among the common cases handled by courts of law. (File)

Editor,

RE:Land and population in Rwanda, a Malthusian trap?” (The New Times, April 26).

Can the writer please point to that “credible research which has shown that Rwanda’s wealth actually is its people” for us to read it and better grasp the point he is making in this article?

I sometimes wonder why some folks are hell-bent on distorting realities, altering facts, thus misleading people.

Ask a husband who is locked up in one of the prison facilities for having butchered his wife over a plot of land.

Step out of your comfort zone and travel to the countryside, talk to peasants and you will know how communities are slowly being destroyed with no hope whatsoever, go to the archives of any court of law and analyze the staggering amount of land-related conflicts since 1970, open your eyes to witness the colour of Nyabarongo River and other effects of soil erosion, read the history of Rwanda and go as far back as 1800 to understand what dynamics prevailed then and their effect on society which we even feel today, try to understand the Rwandan words “ingobyi”, “umunani”, “ingarigari” and try to determine when, why and how did the word “umucanshuro” came to be in our vocabulary.

Some 150 years later, around 1957, land issues were at the heart of the social unrest that killed some and drove many into exile (remember the many popular revolts that broke out around 1850); of recent, many authors documented that land issues were among the drivers for some to engage in participating in the Genocide against the Tutsi (so that they confiscate their land after killing them) and it indeed helped the former regime to entrench its hate ideology into the hearts and minds of people.

To Kevin Gatete, what we need is someone who can tell us how to safely and effectively move about 85 per cent of our people who directly depend on land to other productive sectors of the economy while keeping the current population growth constant. Full stop!

Dorothee Mukamugenga

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