It is not for nothing that Rwanda was recently hailed as the only country in the eastern part of Africa with a clear land policy. What is taking part in the eastern part of Rwanda is further testimony of the commitment of the Rwandan leadership to resettle all its people using fair means – and what is actually happening is that land is being redistributed to hitherto landless people.
Many people have already benefited from these redistributions, which have been agreed upon by the former land owners, and the main issue is that some individuals have been holding very large but redundant tracts of land, whereas there are very many needy and landless people whose resettlement falls upon the shoulders of government.
Also, the policy of the maximum number of hectares to be held by any Rwandan – 25 – has been set, and is to be strictly upheld. The list of people whose land has been redistributed shows that no one is above this policy, and therefore the law. Senator Joseph Karemera, Maj. Gen. Frank Mugambage, and Lt. Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa are all leading citizens in this country, but they have gracefully and without rancor surrendered their pieces of land to the landless.
It has been said before in this column that Rwandans need to live smartly now in this world of changing priorities. Today one no longer needs to hold tens of hectares in order to become a big farmer, and neither does one need to have hundreds of cattle to grow wealthy. Just a few exotic breed cattle and a smaller acreage are needed to transform a person’s life, because what 15 local breed cows can give in terms of milk production, may be given by just two exotic breeds. That is living smart.
The people who have got land should indeed utilize it maximumly, as President Kagame urged them. Indeed, the governor should incorporate how well the given land has been utilized in the final giving of permanent land titles. Should there be some laziness and improper usage, the beneficiaries should lose part of their bonanza.