KIGALI - A cross section of Rwandans praised the ongoing campaign to eradicate thatched houses locally known as ‘Nyakatsi’.
Citizens commended the programme, yesterday, during a town hall meeting organised by the Ministry of Local Government and the Rural Settlement Task Force.
The meeting is broadcast live on state television and radio
During a call-in session, listeners and viewers of the two-hour programme aired their views about the campaign with most observing that their lives had changed for the better.
“I was born to parents living in Nyakatsi, I grew up there; I was married to a husband living in Nyakatsi; but now I have a decent home with iron sheets and I sleep well,” said a woman calling from Kayonza District..
She also thanked President Kagame for his visionary leadership.
The anti-thatched houses programme was conceived by the President for Rwandans’ welfare and social protection.
“This was a timely and commendable programme,” said another caller. He added though that there has been resistance from some individuals.
Most of the incoming calls and short messages came from women who sounded contented with the campaign. Experience has shown that women often appreciate the importance of decent shelter and organised settlement more than men.
The Minister of Local Government, James Musoni who chaired the show, asked Rwandans to hold their leaders accountable especially through such media programmes. He also reminded leaders to always promote the people’s interest.
“Rwandans deserve decent homes. They deserve protection by the government and they need to reside in organised settlements so that other infrastructure can be put in place,” said Musoni.
The deadline for phasing out the thatched houses is set for end of May.
Brig Gen Jacques Musemakweri who chairs the National Technical Committee of the Nyakatsi eradication said that the campaign is at 86 percent completion.
The campaign began in December 2009. There were a total of 124,671 thatched houses in the country.
Musemakweri highlighted some of the challenges in the campaign.
“The rainy season hampered some construction works. The hilly region surrounding volcanoes which lack sufficient land and shortage of water in some areas were among other challenges.”