Some local leaders have been accused of slowing down the implementation of the villagisation programme, commonly known as Imidugudu.
The accusations were made by Augustus Kampayana, during an interview with The New Times.
Kampayana is the head of the Rural Settlement Task force in the Ministry of Local Government which is in charge of the programme.
Since 2008, local leaders, with the help of experts, identified sites suitable for communal settlement and submitted their master plans to the ministry.
The rest of the land would be consolidated for other activities, especially farming.
Villagisation was only at 22 percent (completion rate) among the rural population at the time, according to the official.
“But up to now, you realise that new structures have been constructed outside land designated for Imidugudu, which is contrary to the policy. Respective local officials who are largely the enforcers are to blame,” Kampayana said.
The Task Force will launch a survey on November 21 to establish updated figures on the settlements. They will also use the survey to identify issues related to the public’s perceptions towards the policy.
Augustin Muheto, a local leader from Musheri, Nyagatare District, noted that it became seemingly impossible to settle people in in Imidugudu, which discouraged the leaders.
“There are people who initially lived in family villages; so, the leaders couldn’t easily force their sons to buy plots in Umudugudu. Some of the residents from spaced villages, like in my area, find it difficult to locate places suitable for villages.”
Kampayana said that other than buying plots in designated Imidugudu areas; the option was to exchange parcels of land.
Meanwhile, leaders in areas identified as the weakest in implementing the programme, say that they have intensified sensitisation campaigns to improve their performance.
Alphonse Munyantwali, the Governor of the Southern Province, which had the lowest percentage, said: “We are also working with the National University of Rwanda to design master plans for the Imidugudu, which is one of the requirements, and we hope to have attained 63 percent completion rate by the end of the year.”
The Western Province has the highest villagisation rate at 86 percent, according to the latest report.