Senators on Monday voted to summon the Minister of Local Government and Social Affairs, over damning findings by one of its committees into the status of Imidugudu (planned settlement) programme.
A report compiled by the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Finance, indicates that only the Eastern Province attained at least 70 percent of coverage in the programme, with other provinces below 50 percent.
The programme was initiated by the government as a way of easing rollout of infrastructure facilities mainly to rural parts of the country.
Senators also want the minister to explain the housing challenges faced by historically marginalised groups that previously resided in Gishwati forest.
The Committee conducted a mini-countrywide survey in February and March, covering two districts in each province, apart from Kigali.
According to the report, Muhanga District in the Southern Province has the least coverage rate of Imidugudu countrywide with 21.7 percent. By March, only two districts in the Western Province; Rubavu and Rutsiro, were above 50 percent,
Senators learnt that in the Gishwati, that 23 historically marginalised families in Rambura Sector were not, at the time, included in the government’s plan to put up shelter for the vulnerable.
Sen. Spéciose Ayinkamiye, Chairperson of the Committee, said that despite progress in some areas, many hindrances remain in most regions, especially the Southern Province, where local authorities do not seem to understand the goal of the policy.
Senators were particularly irked by what they found to be a serious lack of progress.
Impediments that continue to undermine the programme, as determined by the senators, include mind-set issues; and untimely implementation of Imidugudu sites’ master plans as local officials claim to be too busy.
“Looking at things now, we see that it will cause problems. Effort should be put in place so that local officials find time to make those diagrams so that congestion is limited,” Ayinkamiye said.
“In most places, there is no basic infrastructure”.
Committee members screened a documentary in which some local authorities are on record saying that it was impossible to construct Imidugudu settlements in their areas “because of the hilly terrain.”
“There is a major problem in the south. This is an issue that must be given thought and the minister in charge must explain,” Sen. Kubwimana said.
The government plans to house every citizen in settlements to allow efficiency of land use and ease of infrastructural rollout.