29 November 2012

Rwanda: Civil Society Steps Up Efforts to Address Land Disputes

Civil Society Organisations dealing with land related issues under their umbrella organisation, LandNet Rwanda Chapter, have reaffirmed their commitment to support the population to address land disputes.

Speaking at the association's general assembly on Wednesday, the Coordinator, Annie Kairaba, said that as the land registration exercise comes to a close, there are many other challenges that need to be addressed.

"Previously, most Rwandans did not reorganise the value of land as it is today or after registering it; and this is creating fresh disputes especially among family members," Kairaba said.

She explained that family members have realised that land tittles do not only prove ownership, but also give chances of accessing loans from financial institutions.

Kairaba, who is the Country Director of Rwanda Initiative for Sustainable Development (RISD), observed that despite the positive impact of the land registration exercise, there is need to monitor the population to ensure that land disputes are avoided.

The meeting that also aimed at assessing the role of CSOs in the implementation of the land reforms considering the Land Policy and Law through advocacy to protecting rights of property owners, attracted among others representatives from Rwanda Natural Resource Authority (RNRA).

During the general assembly, participants from various organisations were given a chance to express their expectations from Land Net as well as what they plan to do in hitting the organisation's target.

In 2004, an organic law on land was enacted to guarantee a safe and stable form of land tenure. This paved way for registering land for individuals to own it unlike before when it was considered government property.

Eng. Didier Giscard Sagashya, Deputy Director General for Lands and Mapping at RNRA, appreciated the role of CSOs in addressing land disputes.

He gave an over view of what has so far been done and future plans to have the exercise completed.

"In seven districts, work is totally complete and we are distributing land tittles as we also work towards completing the remaining districts," he said. The districts include Kirehe, Bugesera, Rwamagana, Kamonyi, Kicukiro, Nyarugenge and Gasabo.

Sagashya is optimistic that the target to have land titles issued across the country by December 2013 will be met.

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