High risk zone dwellers given new eviction ultimatum

Kigali city officials have once again ordered people residing in areas regarded as high risk zones not to stick to demands for compensation, but vacate the places following the City instructions.
Minister  Musoni (L) talks to Ndayisaba after yesterday’s meeting.  The New Times/John Mbanda.
Minister Musoni (L) talks to Ndayisaba after yesterday’s meeting. The New Times/John Mbanda.

Kigali city officials have once again ordered people residing in areas regarded as high risk zones not to stick to demands for compensation, but vacate the places following the City instructions.

The ultimatum which gives residents until April to vacate was announced during the Kigali City General Assembly yesterday.

Those affected include over 216 families living in flood prone areas of Nyamabuye, Nyamugali and Karuruma cells in Gatsata, and 44 households of Kimihurura Sector, living in a place commonly known as Kosovo.

The move by Gasabo district to evict over 216 families from flood prone areas has previously met resistance.

The district has ruled out the possibility of compensation for residents, saying it’s for their safety from possible disasters that they are being asked to move since they settled in high risk zone.

Apart from needy people who will be sheltered through the Gasabo district budget, the rest are supposed to take care of their own relocation to a place of their choice.

Likewise, a number of residents of Kimihurura Sector who talked to The New Times last week said they were not ready to leave their dwellings without compensation.

“I was born here. How come the authorities can tell me to destroy all my properties then go with nothing,” Jacqueline Faida, 65, told The New Times.

She claimed she has six houses worth Rwf100m.

She said she does not oppose the Government’s plan, instead  she requests for compensation as it is done for others.

Must leave

“I have been living here for five years. I came from Cyangugu after selling my properties, then bought and renovated these two houses  worth now  Rwf 40m. Telling me to destroy them then go without being compensated, is akin to killing my family,” Vestine Nyirantwari, 39, and a mother of five told The New Times.

But Fidele Ndayisaba, the Kigali City mayor told the Assembly that the residents should heed the advice and relocate.

“When we tell people to vacate in their interest, they say, ‘pay us’,” Ndayisaba, told the Assembly.

“People living where the City plans to put up infrastructure, such as hospitals, schools, and so on, are normally compensated, but for those who settled in dangerous areas, have to relocate.”

Regular rainfall should be expected from March through May, the Rwanda Meteorological Agency (RMA) warned last Tuesday.

Ndayisaba urged those with means to vacate to safe places to prevent their families from any disasters.

He told people not to feel like they are being forced to vacate and instead consider the possible cost of their indifference.

He blamed some of the leaders who do not stop people from building in high risk zones.

Besides fighting the mess in building and the evacuation of people in high risk zones, the Mayor of Kigali called upon participants to take care of the built infrastructure, leaders to interact with residents, and ensure speedy services.

The Minister of Local Government, James Musoni, thanked the Kigali City officials for having been the first to think of such a kind of meeting to discuss and have a common understanding on a variety of things.

“The culture of excellence should be the objective of all of you in different innovations based on the opportunities found in your respective areas to fight poverty, then increase the income,” Musoni noted.

Central government support

He promised the Central Government will support the City in its development related projects.

The Minister also has previously ruled out compensation for the affected residents, saying the eviction was for their own good.

According to minister Musoni, so far, over 10,000 people have moved from high risk areas countrywide to better locations since June last year.

However, Angelique Kayitesi, a Kigali lawyer says, “Citizens should not be evicted without being compensated. Normally, their properties should be valuated, paid, then given one month for the preparation.”

MP Desire Nyandwi, the deputy chairman of the Parliamentary  standing committee on Agriculture, Environment and Livestock argues that residents who settled in areas in question before the current law came into force and have land titles have right to compensation.

Nyandwi referred to the 2005 Law on Environment, according to which the government gives a-two-year grace period to people who live in wetlands and slopes to leave. After this time, the government can use the same law and force them to relocate.

Subscribe to The New Times E-Paper


You want to chat directly with us? Send us a message on WhatsApp at +250 788 310 999    

 

Follow The New Times on Google News