Members of Cercle Sportif, a prominent sporting complex in Kigali, have petitioned the Minister of Justice to intervene and stop Nyarugenge District from handing over the facility to Jean Marie Mudahunga, who the Mayor says is the rightful owner.
In a strong worded two- page letter, dated November 10, and copied to Local Government Minister, James Musoni, the Mayor of Kigali City and the Commissioner General of Police, the administrators of Cercle Sportif accuse Nyarugenge Mayor, Theophila Nyirahonora, of not acting independently.
The members also allege that Nyirahonora secretly sent them the eviction letter without giving a copy to Justice Minister, Tharcisse Karugarama, who had earlier ruled on the matter.
“The Minister wrote to the Mayor and told her that we are occupying this place legally. We don’t know why the mayor wants to give it to another person,” a member of the club, who requested not to be named, said.
Nyarugenge Mayor, in a letter dated October, 28, ordered the current Cercle Sportif leadership to surrender the complex to Jean Marie Mudahunga.
Members say the complex belongs to more than 1500 people and not one single individual. They described the mayor’s directive as “highly questionable”.
In a document dated April 29, 2010, Karugarama gave his legal opinion, saying the founders of Cercle Sportif, a centre for several sporting activities and other members who joined later have equal say over the sporting complex.
Karugarama was responding to the Mayor’s petition in March this year, informing the minister that Cercle Sportif had two separate legal statuses.
The Mayor wanted Karugarama to declare the leadership null and void since the sporting facility had the legal status of 1962.
The minister said Cercle Sportif first status of 1962 was replaced by the 2000 law that set new guidelines for Non Governmental Organisations.
He advised former members who wished to rejoin the club to do so but should follow the current guidelines.
Mudahunga could not be reached for a comment by press time. The mayor insisted that she had acted within the confines of the law and urged the current leadership “not to waste time” but leave.