Recently, I was following a thrilling discussion about Kigali’s cleanliness on facebook.This was between two Ugandan friends, Emma and Apollo. One had been to Rwanda for a three weeks vacation.
So Emma posted, “Just travelled back from Kigali.
damn….Its amazingly sparkling!!Just wondering why it is so clean yet their country is just healing from its many zibs…. (Read problems)!!”
Apollo commented, “Come on those guys are just broke, they can’t afford stuff like ice cream, mineral water so they got nothing to litter on the street.”
Emma commented again telling Apollo how its mostly 2010 cars being driven in Rwanda so Apollo can’t then say they are broke.
Other people from all over the world joined in the discussion agreeing with Emma about Rwanda’s being so clean while others were being mad at Apollo for his lousy comment.
Of course few people, if any would buy Apollo’s argument. If being broke was a reason for cleanliness then the poor people would be having the cleanest homesteads.
Well, I am proud to be living in this clean city but this discussion awakened my curiosity as well wondering why it is so clean to the extent that its one of the things Rwanda is famous for.
Kigali was the first city in Africa to be awarded the Habitat Scroll of Honor Award in the recognition of its “cleanliness, security and urban conservation model.”
Kigali City Council has done a lot to enforce cleanliness. It would be mean not to mention that it’s the combined efforts with the Rwandans who have payed heed to the call of keeping the city spotless.
“KCC will arrest any one who litters the street. They will be liable to a fine of rwf 10,000 or imprisoned for 6 months,” recently said, Marie Louise Uwimana, Gasabo District vice mayor.
Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General, was struck by Rwanda’s cleanliness, the last time he was here. He said that he has travelled to many places, but Kigali is one of the cleanest cities in the world.
Linda Ingabire, 23, a resident of Kicukiro says she feels so guilty to even throw a tiny piece of paper along the street.
“It feels like a sin. Even when no one is seeing me, I feel like God will punish me if I litter the street. That is simply because it is kept clean,” adds Ingabire.
According to Josianne Mutoni, Rwandans are obedient to the law and that is why Kigali is clean. When any law is put into place to keep the city clean, people will obey.
“I must add that Rwandans love their country as well. They participate whole heartedly in the monthly community work‘Umuganda’.
The government has also played a big part in sensitizing people and ensuring that the country is kept clean,” adds Umutoni.