KARONGI - Local leaders in the Western Province have set end of March as the final deadline for having eliminated grass-thatched huts, popularly known as (Nyakatsi).
The Executive Secretary of the Western Province, Paul Jabo, yesterday told The New Times that a final supervision process was ongoing and local leaders have exhibited commitment to beat the deadline.
He said that elimination of poor housing has been taken as a collective responsibility by stakeholders at all levels of leadership, whereby both the community and local leaders jointly work to seek lasting solutions.
“There is no more dependency on the central government. Funds are being raised locally to source money for iron sheets,” he said.
Jabo revealed that Nyamasheke and Rusizi districts have the largest number of Nyakatsi, while work in Nyabihu and Rubavu districts was being delayed by volcanic soils that make construction work difficult.
Although provisional statistics could not be readily established by press time, Ngororero District was singled out as leading the campaign against Nyakatsi.
Gedeon Ruboneza, the district mayor has attributed the success to cooperation between the residents and the local leaders.
“We had already initiated a programme of improving housing for the poor through collective efforts even before the anti-Nyakatsi campaign started,” Ruboneza said.
The deadline comes at a time when the term of office for local government leaders draws near.
Nyamasheke District has about 4,800 thatched houses but Mayor Jean Baptiste Habyarimana is optimistic they will all be replaced ahead of the deadline.