The New Times (Kigali)

11 August 2012

Rwanda: Ngoma Demolishes Illegally Constructed Structures

Ngoma District, yesterday morning, demolished 13 houses which were illegally constructed in Kibungo town.

The district administration officers and police, along with earth-moving equipment advanced on the town at around 7AM and demolished the illegal structures that housed mostly casual labourers.

Those displaced complained that they hadn't been given any eviction notice.

"They didn't give us time to remove our household items," one lamented.

District authorities, however, told The New Times they had served the occupants with notices several months ago.

By the time the demolition began, most of the dwellers were heading to work.

Official documents that The New Times saw show that the owners of the houses were warned well in advance not to continue constructing the houses.

According to district officials, the demolition was in accordance with law n°10/2012 of 02/05/2012 articles 7, 9 and 83 on urban development and housing.

Odette Uwamariya, the Governor of the Eastern Province, confirmed the development and warned people against illegal construction.

The Governor said the demolition came after local leaders advised the affected to stop construction in vain.

"You know you can't be above the law, neither can you claim ignorance of the law. Even though the Kibungo case was a bit exceptional, the demolition should be a warning deterring others from illegal construction," Uwamariya said.

Jean Luc Ndayisenga, one of the victims, admitted constructing a house illegally and asked for lenience. He wrote a letter to the district administrators, seeking for an alternative land where he could construct another house.

"I am poor and would like to be offered an alternative plot," his long letter read in part.

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