As we urbanize and strive to develop our city, it is an absolute prerequisite that this urbanization process abides by the basic principles of sustainable settlement and development. These principles include;
a) Upholding the rules of nature by living amicably with our natural surroundings, protecting our land, water resources, wetlands etc.
Without this we are destined to disaster, it would only be a question of time. If well planned and if these plans are upheld our natural resources would be an invaluable asset and sustainable source of livelihood.
b) Equitably utilizing our resources, thus a mixed land and property use, accessibility and usability by all groups of people in various socio-economic strata. This principle ensures an inherent and inbuilt system for equitability, responsibility and accountability for all citizens
Unity is paramount to sustaining the city’s ‘soul’, sense of pride and security for all its community.
c) Our city like most cities is a major centre of our economic development. For this development to be sustainable, it has to be hinged on the above 2 principles mentioned; Maximizing resource use, be people centered and strategically competitive.
It is against these principles that our city planning and development is based. It is absolutely important that all of us uphold these principles and be very firm in protecting them.
The city leadership appreciates efforts by both the local administration and the general public for the progress made so far. We still have a long way to go and it is critical that we do have and build the right attitude, mindset and behavior towards this goal.
It should be made clear that illegal activities should not be tolerated and it should be our individual and collective business to stand firm against evil. Illegal constructions should be easier to deal with because they are overt and so physical for everyone to see. The question is; why are they put up as some people are watching? It is the leaders’ responsibility much as it is everybody’s responsibility to build our country and have law abiding, accountable and hard working citizenry.
I find it very unfortunate that someone sympathizes and condones illegal constructions in the city and other illegal activities.
It is certainly not a joy to demolish these illegal structures but it is a necessity. I wish to take this opportunity to call upon all the Kigali city community to fight these illegal activities.
I am aware that there is a need to ease peoples’ access to services from local authorities like the issuance of construction permits and renovation permits. That is the reason why Kigali city established one stop centre for construction permits to serve big construction projects and also put in place a clients’ charter to guide service delivery at the city and district offices.
These initiatives have helped delivery approvals for any construction in not more than 30 days upon presentation of all required documents to the district land bureau or the One Stop centre. Therefore all those intending to construct houses now don’t have any excuse for not seeking for construction permits from the relevant authorities.
I also call upon the population to discuss these problems in the village forum (Inteko y’abaturage) of which every member of Umudugudu is part. This is because all these illegal houses affect the whole neighborhood in which they are constructed. And they are a threat to every member of the community.
Bruno Rangira is the Director of communication, Kigali City Council