Rubavu Women Association, Duhaguruke, which supports orphans and schools, is threatening to drag district authorities to court over allegations of confiscation of its orphanage premises.
The row started in 2005 when Jumelage Rhenanie- Palatinat, a German Non-Government Organisation that was supporting Duhogore Orphanage, in partnership with the, association, handed over the ownership to the association.
“When the German NGO project ended, as it is their principle to handover property to cooperatives they work with, we ended up owning the premises,” Antoinette Mukamwiza, the association’s president told The New times.
Mukamwiza explained that at the time they acquired the premises, the association entered into a agreement with the district authorities to rent it for a period of two years as the district wanted space for a new transit centre that would accommodate street children as part of a new government policy.
“When two years elapsed as the contract stipulated, the district disregarded their obligation to vacate the premises,” added Mukamwiza.
The association accuses Ezekiel Buntu, the Vice Mayor in charge of Economic Affairs, of creating an orphanage known as Dusugire along with his brother who lives in Germany, saying it occupies the premises along with the transit centre.
“The Mayor, his deputy in charge of Social Affairs, Rachael Mukasine, and Janvier Murenzi vice president of the District Advisory Council, agree with our documents of ownership but, Buntu, due to his personal interests, refused to hand over the premises,” explained Mukamwiza.
When contacted by this newspaper, Buntu, insisted the orphanage grounds belonged to the district claiming that the German NGO had no right to give away the premises to any co-operative or individual.
“The premises belong to the district, but the advisory council set up a commission to verify the authenticity of the claims,” said Buntu, who could not comment any further.
However, a source who attended the advisory council meeting that set up the commission and preferred anonymity, said that Murenzi and Buntu were involved in a verbal exchange.
According to the same sources, Mukasine, who was asked to explain the problem and acknowledged that “the premises belonged to the women’s association.”