KAYONZA - President Paul Kagame and his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni, together with the First Ladies, yesterday, visited Nyagatovu and Kitazigurwa integrated model villages in Kayonza District, to witness the advantages of living in planned settlements.
On the third day of the four-day state visit by the Ugandan President, the two leaders visited and interacted with the residents of the model villages located in Mukarange Sector, before addressing the residents at Nyagatovu.
Both Museveni and Kagame highlighted the importance of people living in planned settlements, but mainly emphasised that it makes it easy for the government to provide services such as infrastructure, energy and health services.
The two Presidents inspected the low cost houses valued at an estimated Rwf5m each, as well as community livestock rearing projects.
President Kagame thanked the residents for responding to the government’s call to live in planned housing units, locally known as Imudugudu, observing that the impact of their decision is reflected in their healthy appearances and good standards of living.
While the planned settlements could have largely impacted their lives, President Kagame said that their improved welfare is partly because the residents are hard working and deserve commendation.
Amidst cheers and ululations, Kagame introduced President Museveni and his entourage and underscored the importance of the visit, which marks a significant milestone in the relations between the two countries.
He highlighted the activities the Ugandan Head of State has been involved in since his arrival, including participating in Umuganda where he donated US$300, 000 towards the construction of a school, observing that such a visitor is always important.
President Kagame noted that President Museveni who travelled with his family and a big delegation of officials who have been involved in different activities since their arrival, shows the importance the two countries attach to the visit.
He said that the visit has been vital and the two countries have used the opportunity to share best practices and to deal with the challenges they face.
On his part, President Museveni said that the government programme to settle citizens in planned settlements is important, observing that most of environmental problems Africa faces arise from poorly planned human settlements.
He noted that unplanned settlements come with disadvantages and dangers but this can be avoided as Rwanda has demonstrated.
“I want to salute President Paul Kagame from tackling ‘imiturire mibi’ (poorly planned human settlement). I am happy from what I have seen here.”
“When people construct without plan, you find that 50 percent of the land has been put to waste. But for you to say, you come out and settle in one place and we will give you what you want is a very good idea,” Museveni said.
He said that such settlements where people use land in a communal way eliminates wastage and ensures high productivity, pointing out that this is one of the major advantages of land consolidation.
President Museveni, who afterwards introduced his family, said that the government initiative is partly successful because the people support government programmess.
He commended the people, noting that in other countries, the programme could have failed.
Nyagatovu Model village is expected to have 153 houses, 63 of which have already been built while Kitazigurwa and Ntebe Model Villages are supposed to have 300 housing units.
The villages which boast of electricity and a road network have also received an additional 51 cows under the Girinka programme.