RWAMAGANA - The Governor of the Eastern Province, Dr. Ephraim Kabaija, on Wednesday, told local leaders to step up efforts to eliminate grass thatched houses (Nyakatsi) in their respective communities.
Addressing district mayors and security officers in the province, the Governor said that there is need to engage everyone in this exercise.
He was reacting to a recent survey which revealed that there are over 30,000 grass thatched houses (Nyakatsi) in the province.
He disclosed that since 2006, 7,874 modern houses have been constructed for the vulnerable residents.
“Although the results of the survey are provisional, the trend is discouraging,” he said.
“Our aim is to eradicate Nyakatsi, but if the research done is valid and reliable, we are extremely slow compared with the speed at we started with when there were 42,000 such houses.”
The Governor further warned some local leaders, who he said are reluctant to implement government policies, just because their term is about to end.
Louis Rwagaju, the Mayor of Bugesera, said that his district is facing challenges with the new settlers’ houses and big number of needy people.
“We have so many factors against our program to end grass-thatched houses. We have reduced some, but others are being built silently,” he said.
Kirehe Mayor Protais Murayire, blamed the traditional huts to people who produce many children and face accommodation challenges.
“Parents produce many children, who beyond the age 18, build grass thatched houses which are affordable,” he said.
“It is embedded in societal behaviors such as polygamy. At 18 years, a boy leaves his father’s house, so the number of grass thatched houses equal that of a family’s children.”
Bugesera District has 9,700 grass thatched houses, the highest number in the province.