16 February 2013

Rwanda: Rubavu Land Wrangle Should Be Settled Out of Court

The news of a land wrangle in Rubavu town that pits a prominent Kigali doctor against families he claims are squatters on his land, is yet another reminder that some issues could have been avoided if proper procedures had been followed in the first place.

The so-called squatters got the land legally from local authorities and they rightly argue that if they are to move, they should be compensated for the development they carried out on the land that runs in the hundreds of millions of francs.

The doctor on the other hand claims Rubavu officials unlawfully and knowingly settled people on his land. He wants them evicted and the town to foot the bill for its mistakes.

This is one of the many disputes, where local government officials cause problems instead of solving them. It should not have allocated private property in the first place without consulting the owner, and if necessary, expropriate him fairly.

The doctor on the other hand allegedly waited more than a decade to put forward his claim, after the occupants had put in substantial investments.

Rubavu District should actively be seen to be trying to cure a headache it caused instead of just leaving it to the courts because the occupants are not at fault.

This issue should be settled out of court to avoid further expenses, especially on the part of Rubavu district authorities.

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