GASABO - Tempers are flaring in Ngaruyinka village, Kinyinya sector in Gasabo District where residents accuse the mayor, Claudine Nyinawagaga and the local authorities of alleged corruption and incompetence.
The row stems from the delayed payment on their property and the residents are furious over a failed plan of expropriating them to pave way for construction of a modern housing estate.
The exercise which kicked off in April last year with evaluation of the land and people’s property was jointly conducted by the Housing Bank and National Social Security Fund of Rwanda (CSR).
Residents who spoke to The New Times claimed that one year later, only a few of them were paid while the majority say they have been ignored, which sparked a dispute between Gasabo Mayor Claudine Nyinawagaga and the residents.
Fulgance Seminega one of the residents told this paper that only the local leaders including the Executive Secretary, village leaders and security officials were expropriated.
“After discovering that some irregularities arose during the exercise, we even wrote to the bank authorities demanding that they should not dispatch any money, but they went ahead and did it,” Seminega said in an interview with The New Times.
He explained that in his capacity as a local leader at the village level, Seminega wrote to the Mayor of Kigali, the Human Rights Commission, Natural Resources Minister Stanislas Kamanzi and Local Government Minister Protais Musoni to highlight the problem.
In a letter dated April 14 of which The New Times obtained a copy, Minister Musoni instructed Nyinawagaga to investigate the matter and give a response before May 10 2009.
“Following the complaints by your residents which include forcefully signing the evaluation forms and delayed payments among others, I want you to quickly investigate the matter and expect the findings by the stipulated date,” reads the letter in part.
This was followed by another May 14 directive by Kigali Mayor Dr Aisa Kirabo Kacyira demanding a speedy and quick resolution of the standoff.
In a telephone interview, Nyinawagaga dismissed the corruption claims as baseless and unfounded, saying they were mere speculation.
“The problem is that most of the residents were over expectant and some of them even took loans in hope that they would get money, but it did not come to pass because of the financial constraints of the bank,” Nyinawagaga said.
She emphasized that as a leader, she can not adopt an initiative that will affect the people despite the anticipated prospects.
In a subsequent interview, Gervais Ntaganda the Director General of the Housing Bank confessed to the failure of the project and attributed it to the widespread global financial crisis.
“It was a partnership between us and CSR and we are no exception to the global financial crisis. That is why the plan has until now failed to kick off,” Ntaganda said at his office.
He ruled out any foul play in the whole exercise.