The New Times (Kigali)

5 February 2013

Rwanda: Why the One Dollar Project Stalled

Contractors of the project aimed at providing shelter to Genocide orphans have accused the project manager of poor management, leading to delays in the completion of what has been dubbed the 'One Dollar Hostel'.

The four-storey complex, in the upscale Kagugu cell in Kinyinya sector, is upon completion, supposed to provide shelter for at least 192 orphans of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The hostel, whose construction was supposed to take 12 months after the ground-breaking ceremony in October 2010, was funded by proceeds from the One Dollar Campaign, which was initially launched by Rwandans in Diaspora, but later embraced by the nation.

However, the project, which has for a long time been in finishing phase, has been reportedly delayed by misunderstandings between parties involved in the contract.

Payment wrangles

According to Donatien Murenzi, the owner of Murenzi Supply Company, the contractor, the main issues were raised during the payment, which was not being done on due time.

This saw the contractor lay down tools in November last year.

Murenzi said, "The project manager, Appolinaire Sayinzoga Nkongoli, kept changing the architectural plan, adding in works which where not in the original contract."

This was corroborated by the executive secretary of Ibuka, the umbrella body that safeguards the interests of Genocide survivors. Ibuka is a key stakeholder in the project.

"The project manager would make modifications on the complex without seeking the consent of the board and the contractor required Rwf222m extra money on these activities, which we could not pay without referring to the contract," said Naftari Ahishakiye, the Ibuka executive secretary.

Efforts to contact Nkongoli, who has since resigned, were futile as he was said to be out of the country.

The activities resumed on January 29, thanks to the visit by the Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi to the site, where he asked that the house be ready in three months.

For effectiveness, the premier promised giving them a project manager from the Ministry of Infrastructure to oversee the construction activities and called upon those who pledged towards the campaign and have not yet honoured it to do so.

The hostel has 48 bedrooms, each of them having four beds that will accommodate the neediest of the students to be selected by the Association of Student Genocide Orphans (AERG).

It has different facilities, including offices, kitchen and a dining room.

Speaking to The New Times, Constantine Rukundo, the national coordinator of AERG, said the delay of the project is affecting beneficiaries, who have no where to go for their holidays.

Rukundo said they have identified 600 Genocide survivors in need of shelter, but due to the limited facility, they will take in the most vulnerable.

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