25 May 2012

Rwanda: Abunzi and Land Use Were a Success, Research Finds

On Thursday, the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) presented findings of two studies concerning Rwanda's rational land use and the performance of abunzi (mediators).

Conducted by ISAE (Higher Institute of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry) in collaboration with RGB, the study on Rwanda's rational land use aimed at eliciting perceptions of people on the implementation of the land use consolidation policy, crop intensification and imidugudu townships. It sought to identify constraints and challenges related to their implementation and explore community views and suggestions to overcome bottlenecks and to sustain progress.

The survey targeted heads of households, 90% of whom turned out to be predominantly involved in agriculture. As the research indicates, land featured as the main resource for economic sustenance was mainly obtained through inheritance. The findings establish that 86.6% of the households possessed title deeds.

"This reflects a positive impact of the land registration drive in the country," commented Prof Anastase Shyaka, RGB's CEO.

The study also confirmed a virtual elimination of grass-thatched houses (nyakatsi) where the surveyors said that in the visits made during the data gathering process, they didn't encounter a single such dwelling.

This might be due to increased awareness (94%) and satisfaction among people about the rural settlement imidugudu program.

In general, Gisagara, Karongi, Kirehe, Nyanza and Rulindo featured low levels of community participation while the highest level (97%) was observed in Burera. For the rural settlement side, districts like Gasabo, Rulindo and Muhanga are still lagging behind and were required to share experiences with more successful districts.

On the other hand, in the study conducted on the performance of abunzi (mediators) by Transparency International Rwanda (TI-Rw), public perceptions on the level of integrity of mediators emerged as the best performing indicator (81.5%), followed by public satisfaction with mediators' capacity (76%) and public confidence at 75.9%.

As far as benefits from mediator's courts are concerned, in comparison with the ordinary courts, the most highlighted indicators are the reduction of time spent to settle cases (86.7%), reduction of economic costs of cases in jurisdictions (84.2%) and mitigation of conflicts between parties (80.1%).

"These findings reflect Rwandans' voice towards a civic participation in policy elaboration. RGB appreciates the growing capacity in Rwanda's think-tanks and academia," said Dr Felicien Usengumukiza deputy CEO of RGB.

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