The cost of keeping Kigali clean

“The most important thing which has made us so amazed is the general cleanliness around Kigali City. This city is one of the most beautiful cities in Africa,” Patrick Kabambe, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in Malawi said during a meeting with KCC officials.
A view of one of the roads connecting to Kigali City. The Sunday Times / File
A view of one of the roads connecting to Kigali City. The Sunday Times / File

“The most important thing which has made us so amazed is the general cleanliness around Kigali City. This city is one of the most beautiful cities in Africa,” Patrick Kabambe, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in Malawi said during a meeting with KCC officials.

He is but one of the many visitors to Kigali, who have found it impossible to not express their admiration for the clean city that Kigali is.

Just like any other worker, by 5:30am Sarah Uwamahoro is already out of bead having breakfast and ready for going to work. She is one of the employees of Ikondera Company limited, one of the companies responsible for keeping the city clean.

Although she does not disclose how much she earns, she tells The Sunday Times that together with her husbands` pay, they join hands to pay school fees for their two children, rent a house and are able to live an independent life.

“I have done this work for the last three years and it has helped me move on with my family despite the high cost of living in this city,” she laments.

 Uwamahoro is among the 270 people employed by Ikondera cleaning company. “Like any other employee, even bankers, there is no payment or salary that is enough but you only have to plan for it very well so that life goes on,” Uwamahoro said with a smile on her face.

As the team happily walks away with a monthly pay, the company together with city authorities counts on them and have indeed contributed to the beautification of the city. The head of Ikondera, Michael Mudenge, says that to make sure that the team carries on its duties effectively, regular inspection is carried out.

“We clean or carry out any activity considering Kigali City directives as stipulated in the contract we have with them,” says Mudenge.

He explains that the cleanliness and green environment does not come easily but that it comes with commitment.

“By 6:15a.m, our workers will have already started work and supervisors are always inspecting to report any kind of poor service delivery or misconduct as well as informing their colleagues about areas which need urgent service,” Mudenge says.

He adds that even at the time when others are having a break at around, 1p.m, another shift is on duty until 7:30a.m when they complete their work.

Immaculate Mukashyaka, the Greening and City Beautification Expert at KCC, says that keeping Kigali clean costs about Rwf 25 million per month.

“We have six companies in charge of cleaning the three districts of Kigali although each district has the responsibility of taking care of some particular areas, the overall responsibility to oversee the exercise is with city authorities,” she said.

She explains that the exercise comprises of various works including waste management, cleaning and keeping city gardens clean and green among others.

“To maintain the cleanliness for only Kigali City we incur Rwf 13 million per month.”   

According to Mukashyaka, youth associations, private and public institution as well as community services have also played a role in keeping the city clean.

Says Mukashyaka: “We are also working in collaboration with 48 youth cooperatives as they have taken the responsibility of maintaining some city gardens.”

Taxi motorcyclists are also recognized as they are so committed in cleaning various areas including the city garden near Kanombe International Airport among other areas.

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