Embattled residents of Kangondo slum in Nyarutarama cell, Remera sector have managed to file a court case against the City of Kigali in a land battle in which both parties have since 2018 failed to agree on expropriation procedures.
The battle between both parties begun when Gasabo district in city of Kigali attempted to expropriate over 1000 residents in Kangondo I&II and Kibiraro- a slum commonly known as “Bannyahe.
The slum is adjacent to Kigali’s posh residential areas of Nyarutarama and Kibagabaga in Remera sector, Gasabo district and thousands of families in homes with mixed structures- planned and unplanned settlements.
However, attempts to expropriate the community for development purposes failed as the residents refused the expropriation offer tabled by Gasabo district to have them exchange their land for new houses in Busanza estates, Kicukiro district.
The residents, who were given chance to visit the Busanze site were not impressed and returned arguing that the exchange was not equivalent to the new homes and wanted direct cash, of which the city authorities refused to come forth.
This disagreement led into both parties holding several meeting to agree but this later resulted into a saga as resident were asked to shift immediately but refused and instead went to court suing the district.
Gasabo Intermediate Court, which listened to their case for months, ended up dropping it on grounds that the residents had sued the wrong person and had gone through a wrong procedure.
This means that in order for their case to hold water, Bannyahe residents had to submit their complaint to higher authority that is the city of Kigali (CoK), Ministry of Local Government (Minaloc) and later sue Gasabo district in case this was not resolved amicably.
For the second time now, residents have gone to court officially after failing to get to an agreement with the involved parties on their previous demands which include, expropriation with liquid cash money, or houses which are an equivalent of what they possessed in the slum.
In the second court case, submitted this November 25, to the Gasabo Intermediate Court in Rusororo sector, residents have come with fresh demand, of which they say they have considered all possibilities surrounding this case that has set a record in Kigali- where residents for the first time refused to be expropriated.
Their actions also come at a time when the laws (no 32/2015 of 11/06/2015 on expropriation) are seemingly playing in favour of their side.
Previously it was made clear in the land laws that no residents should be expropriated against their will and unless in case of activities of national interest of which a certain percentage (10% as value of property) is given to the land owner, otherwise the expropriation is negotiated on market prices after valuation.
The law also provides that after negotiations are done, land owners must be paid within three months, but if this fails then the owners are paid a 5% addition for delays on the cost negotiated.
“This time (in the new case) we want our rights on the land returned to us, court to validate our plight to the ministry and asking for 5 per cent fine on the value of the land,” said Jean de Dieu Shikama, the group leader who said that they are determined to have the case reach the highest authorities.
In the case plight, which is similar and uniformly written by most of the plaintiffs, with correction of previous procedural errors in the first 2018 case, the group also wants, if any chance, negotiations to have the city of Kigali authorities recount the value of their property basing on current prices, and seeking compensation of money spent in lawsuits among others.
“They (CoK) can, if we negotiate, expropriate us within the current market value and if not, we are asking court to return our rights over the land of which we have not been able to develop as a result of this case,” Shikama said.
The CoK Mayor Pudence Rubingisa had in September 2019 said that the city authorities were willing to resolve this dispute and been meeting the concerned persons to deal with each case separately.
Some of the special cases, in this matter, include those who live in the wetlands, seeking property revaluation which goes through the district and city authorities, according to Rubingisa.