EDITORIAL: Consultation is the best medicine, always

City of Kigali leadership is in protracted talks with residents of three villages in Nyarutarama Cell in Gasabo District.

City of Kigali leadership is in protracted talks with residents of three villages in Nyarutarama Cell in Gasabo District.

The subject matter is relocating three villages – that have turned into Kigali’s largest slum – to give way to real estate development. In exchange, developers want to give landlords houses, a suggestion that the latter have turned down seeking monetary compensation instead.

There is no doubt that both parties will arrive at a mutual understanding and put an end to a conflict that should not have been there in the first place if all stakeholders had been consulted.

Redeveloping the slum (that has been given a very derogatory nickname) is definitely a noble endeavour as the city continues on its fast development drive. But that unplanned settlement sprouted up under the very eyes of local authorities so it is only natural that the local government is at the forefront of finding a lasting solution.

The current stalemate, similar to other decisions that have come under public scrutiny and thereby solved or revised – such as the recent hike in vehicle insurance premiums – is an indication of the importance of a people-centred media.

It heard the people’s complaints, mediatised them and created an open debate on how two opposing sides can come to a common understanding and come up with a win-win solution.

But we do not have to wait for an incident to blow out of hand and hits the headlines yet there was an alternative; consulting the other side. This is a culture that all decision makers should make their mantra.

Otherwise unilateral decisions become expensive in the long run when they have to be rescinded or revised.

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