Land: Master plan coming as Kagame goes back to Eastern Province

The State Minster in charge of Lands and Environment, Patricia Hajabakiga, has confirmed that the national Land Use Master Plan development is underway.

The State Minster in charge of Lands and Environment, Patricia Hajabakiga, has confirmed that the national Land Use Master Plan development is underway.

Hajabakiga said on Monday that the work is being done by the Swiss Survey Company from Switzerland under the supervision of the Office of the Registrar of Land Titles. She added that work on the plan started last September with the aerial photographing of the national landscape and preparation for inspection report on how it will be done.

But when asked about the latest progress, Hajabakiga referred this reporter to the registrar of lands. When contacted, Eugene Rurangwa, the Registrar of Land Tittles in the Ministry of Lands and Environment, said: “The aerial photographing exercise has been halted by the rainy season but expected to restart immediately the rains go slow.”

The plan will provide both the aerial and ground geographical view of the country in regard to the current landscape use, which is the first of its kind. The move is driven by the national plans for major land reforms aimed at transforming rural society, which is highly dependent on agricultural produce.

Officials hope that the revised land use will provide coherent and environment-friendly activities in Africa’s most densely populated country.

The news on the progress of Land Use Master Plan comes barely a week after Rwanda was reported as the only Eastern Africa nation with complete Land Policy and Organic Law. This was highlighted by the new report on the regional assessment of land policy in Eastern Africa released last week during a three-day workshop held at Hotel Mille de Collines in Kigali.

The report says that, out of thirteen Eastern Africa countries, only Rwanda’s land policy so far prioritised land as the important component in the national economic transformation.

According to the report, the other regional countries are yet to come up with such an explicit land policy, save for Tanzania that has already put in place a strategic plan for implementation of its 1999 Land Law.

Meanwhile President Paul Kagame will from today through to Friday be on a working tour of the Eastern Province. His tour kicks off in Nyagatare, where he is to officially launch the redistribution phase of the land review exercise.

Mid last year a commission comprising senior army and police officers and officials from the lands ministry was set up to look into the Eastern Province land issue, with the mandate to analyse how irregular initial allocation had been, and thereafter advise on redistribution.

It had for long been reported that some people there, mainly top military, police and other government officials, owned more than they could put to good use, whereas the more ordinary mortals barely had enough for subsistence farming.

Minister Hajabakiga has confirmed the completion of the review phase, saying reallocation to carefully identified people is going to begin in earnest.

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