Residents of Kangondo I&II and Kibiraro I– a slum commonly known as ‘Bannyahe’ in Nyarutarama cell, Remera sector in Gasabo district may have their embattled case of resettlement revised for the second time.
On Tuesday, August 7, 2018 Chantal Rwakazina, Kigali City Mayor promised to review issues that caused hostility between the city and the affected residents.
In July this year, residents filed a case that was registered under PST RAD 00020/2018/TGI/GSBO to Gasabo Intermediate Court.
Complainants want the court to rule that the city expropriates them in monetary terms, instead of relocating them to new houses. They also want to get paid Rwf100 million for “having unfairly engaged them into litigation.”
In addition, the complainants want Kigali City to add 5% of the total value of their properties for the discomfort they caused while bringing “inappropriate expropriation modalities and another 5% for expropriation delays.”
On top of this, they want the city to refund the lawyer Rwf5 million.
The litigation filed against Gasabo district came to challenge a deal between the city and Savannah Creek Development Company, a joint venture between a Finish and Rwandan investors who agreed to resettle Bannyahe to a finished settlement to pave away for construction of their $56 million high-end residential housing project in Kangondo.
The city mayor who was just two months in office replacing Pascal Nyamurinda who saw the case from initial phase, has now made the first attempt to settle the conflict amicably.
On August 7, Rwakazina, accompanied by Remera Sector Executive Secretary and Gasabo District Mayor – Stephen Rwamurangwa met the ‘Bannyahe’ residents at Remera sector offices for a meeting she expected to be a “good platform for discussions that may even see them (complainants) withdraw their case.”
The feedback suggested that residents are not ready for anything, rather than to have the decision reversed.
They said the valuation was only in favour of the investor and their wish is to get it revised so that their tariffs are considered and to be given money in exchange of their houses so that they can go settle at a place of their choice.
In Rwakazina’s understanding, “there is no way all the village could be against the decision. I would like us to hear a case by case, instead of generalizing the issue and taking for granted the step that was reached.”
Apparently, the mayor did not want to announce her final stand on the matter, but she stood by the side of the law.
“There is a master plan and we must be ready that it may affect us. In any case, we have to curb consequences that may be caused by bad settlements,” she said.
“We do not have enough space where we can leave alone a slum and prepare another high end.”
And defending the project amidst disagreements from the audience, she said, whenever they find an investor who can set up a high-end residential area, “the government can’t lose such opportunity.”
“I urge you not to completely tarnish the project, though I really understand that there are some serious issues in the project.”
Mayor Rwakazina promised to look into the matter and give her feedback. She took good note of the valuation shortfalls and some conflicts of property ownership where for example a land title is claimed by two people.