25 January 2013

Rwanda: Evicted Gatsata Residents Demand Compensation

Residents of Nyamabuye, Nyamugali and Karuruma cell in Gatsata, Gasabo district who were asked to vacate the flood prone area say they will not leave unless the district compensates them.

Gasabo district gave residents of the flood prone areas until April to move, without compensation. According to officials, the move is aimed at protecting them from the disasters as they live in high risk zones.

The residents were given orders to vacate the area after heavy rains and floods destroyed a lot of properties and also claimed two lives last year.

Speaking to The New Times, several residents showed their worries of relocating without consideration of their property.

Theoneste Jabo, 73, a resident from Nyamabuye cell, who said he has been living in the area since 1982, disclosed that they are not willing to leave their birth place.

"My house cost me around Rwf40 million. If they do not compensate me there is no way I can move from here," the widower said. The house, according to the father of six has seven bedrooms.

"I do not know how much they can pay me to leave this place. However, if they pay me all the money I have spent on my house, I will move definitely," he said.

Another resident of Nyamugali cell who spoke on condition of anonymity said it is very hard for one to move from a place where they have lived for many years without money to build a new home.

However, Gasabo district officials insisted that the residents have to move by April because they live in a very high risk zone and no compensation will be paid them.

"We are not paying them for relocation. What we are doing now is to sensitise them to move as fast possible so that disasters do not strike them again," Jean Claude Munara, the district vice mayor for economic affairs said. "To move these people is to protect them from the disasters as they live in high risk zones."

But the district's move was disputed by Marie Immaculee Ingabire, the chairperson of Transparency Rwanda, said, "It is not right to move people like that, government should improvise and compensate them," she said.

Gasabo district plans to first relocate people who live in wetlands before relocating those on the slopes.

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