The Director of Rwanda Initiative for Sustainable Development (RISD), Annie Kairaba, has called upon key government institutions responsible for land programs, to work hand-in-hand in fostering a successful and long-term implementation of the land reform process.
She said this yesterday during the 1st National Land Dialogue, which was organized by RISD and the Office of the Ombudsman.
The two-day meeting attracted several policy makers, donors and local leaders who shared ideas on how to bridge existing gaps that hinder the progress of land governance and sustainable development.
“The main cause of land disputes is, insecurity of land rights out of competing claims, whereby one piece of land is claimed by various parties because of waves of population movement, land scarcity, combined with lack of clear coordination of existing land related policies,” Kairaba said.
She added that if concerned institutions improve coordination, the land policy and organic land law will fully achieve their target by focusing on the improvement of land administration to foster sustainable development.
“The dialogue will provide all parties with a platform to talk about what is not working well,” Kairaba said.
“The land reform process in post conflict societies is the most challenging program towards peace building initiatives, as it can intensify land related disputes if not properly managed”.
The Office of the Ombudsman released a statement stating that it had unearthed corruption during expropriations, land registration and inheritance procedures.
According to the Deputy Ombudsman, Augustin Nzindukiyimana, the Office has done its best to solve land problems, but complaints related to land sharing between returning refugees and new owners as well as succession matters amongst family members still remain.
“The land problem became crucial after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, when refugees came back. They needed to be resettled in their former areas or where the government could resettle them,” Nzindukiyimana said.
“This dialogue will draw attention to all land related issues that reach our office, highlighting strategies on how to handle the issues, constraints, and suggestions for the future.”
Stakeholders will be expected to come up with strategies to sensitize the public about land reform, particularly the protection of rights of farmers who own small plots of land, as well as marginalized groups including orphans, widows and the youth.