Public ownership of Kigali master plan critical

On Tuesday, officials from the City of Kigali and its three districts spent several hours engaging with local editors, bloggers and micro-bloggers on the city master plan.

On Tuesday, officials from the City of Kigali and its three districts spent several hours engaging with local editors, bloggers and micro-bloggers on the city master plan.

Under the master plan, which envisions Kigali 30 years from now, the city will undergo massive redevelopment, with view to creating a modern, people- and environmentally-friendly metropolis.

 

The plan will affect every single resident of Kigali, including those in semirural neighbourhoods.

 

One major aspect is a gradual shift from the current informal housing structure in the city, which is largely widely scattered households or congested slums, to well planned apartment dwellings and more organised neighbourhoods.

 

Officials say 2700 new housing units, including apartments, will be constructed in keeping with this vision.

The other important aspect relates to public transport, an area where Kigali residents and those from its environs would wish to see a major improvement. As part of the proposed reforms the city and regulators Rura have for the past few months piloted a public transport model whereby motorists were assigned specific zones and routes.

This left many workers, students and other passengers stranded on the road for hours, especially because there was no proper monitoring mechanism in place to ensure that motorists respected the arrangement.

But yesterday authorities opened bids from transport firms, and this will result in official allocation of zones and routes to qualified service providers, who will then enter into contracts with binding conditions.

Whereas this decision might be seen as a step back as far as liberalising public transport sector is concerned, this is a sector that needs regulation.

The end-result of these reforms will not only benefit both the passengers and motorists, but in the long-rurn, it might help ease pressure on roads since more people will comfortably use public transport system as opposed to costly private cars.

These reforms however should build on the current realities, including integrating the 18-seater minibuses and taxi-motos in the short and medium-term, to allow smooth transition to use of big buses and eventually trains in public transport.

The reforms present a great opportunity to investors, especially since government has introduced several incentives.

But these plans need to be adequately communicated to the people through different platforms including Umuganda, district public engagement forums, religious gatherings, among other grassroots platforms.

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