NYAGATARE - The land re-distribution exercise in the Eastern Province has started with 54,392 hectares being re-demarcated and given out to the landless, an exercise initiated and spearheaded by President Paul Kagame.
The exercise began yesterday with 126 hectares distributed among 25 people in Nyagatare district.
The President said that not all the 54,392 hectares will necessarily be given out. He explained that there is a procedure in place which is being used to give out the land.
In the event that according to it officials find it necessary not to give out a certain piece of land, it will remain in government possession for future use.
The re-distribution comes after President Kagame helped to set guidelines mid last year in a bid to resolve the land wrangles that had for long gripped the Eastern Province.
A carefully composed commission was then set up to study the situation in detail.
It came up with a report rich in detail about who owned how big a land and also identified the needy people who would be the beneficiaries.
The initial re-distribution exercise saw the farms of senior government officers given out to people who were expropriated from areas around Gabiro School of Infantry, the Akagera National Park and Returnees from Tanzania.
The State Minster in charge of Lands and Environment, Patricia Hajabakiga said that some top government officials’ plots are likely to be redistributed and that about 200 more officials owned over 50 hectares each. The inaugural exercise is expected to take four days, ending Friday and is led by President Kagame himself.
But according to Theoneste Mutsindashyaka, Governor of the Eastern Province, the entire exercise will take two months. Kagame will during the four days personally hand over land in the districts of Nyagatare, Gastibo, Kayonza and Kirehe, all in the Eastern Province. The initial owners of the land remained with only 25 hectares.
During the re-demarcations, the beneficiaries could not contain their excitement, cheerfully thanking the President as they were handed temporary titles of their newly acquired plots.
President Kagame advised them to exploit their assets for economic development.