UN consultant to release report on Rwandan habitat
Two days before international population day on July 11, special UN-Habitat rapporteur Raquel Rolnik presented her first observations on Rwandan habitat to parliamentarians, members of agriculture, livestock, environment and economic development committees from both chambers.
According to the ongoing study, the country’s policies on habitat are adequate, but the implementation still requires more effort.
“There are people who were expropriated or relocated but they have not yet been given appropriate homes,” Rolnik pointed out.
She gave the example of Kiyovu cyo hepfo on road to downtown, from where people were relocated to Batsinda in Gasabo district. However, in this new location even water is not yet available nearby.
Rolnik also mentioned the ‘bye bye Nyakatsi’ program, where she said that some people who were supposed to have been sheltered in decent houses, were still not housed.
She also highlighted sanitation in some imidugudu where more than two families share the same toilet. “Rwanda must establish policies to improve the living conditions of people settled there. They should have basic sanitation services,” the UN rapporteur said, adding that the implementation of village habitat should go slowly but surely, instead of presenting it to the citizen as a measure taken by the government to get done overnight.
However, parliamentarians explained that most of the challenges are due to people’s mindset. “Some of the citizens are resistant to change. Through sensitization, we persuade them to follow the policies after understanding the reasons of their resistance,” said Perrine Mukankusi, the chairperson of the Senate’s committee on economic development and finance.
Mukankusi’s argument was backed by Senator Evariste Bizimana who added that one might look at the results and study ways of improving implementation. “Due to imidugudu, Rwanda has been able to vacate land for economic use. Therefore the land consolidation process was successful and it made it possible for farmers to use fertilizers, which resulted in eradicating hunger and boosting our economy,” he pointed out.
Senator Laurent Nkusi for his part remarked that implementation goes well considering the available means. “It requires a lot of resources to do everything at once, but Rwanda is doing its best to make that happen as quickly as possible,” he argued.
Rolnik is in Rwanda since last week at the government’s invitation to study imidugudu, ‘bye bye Nyakatsi,’ land consolidation, land titling and expropriation. She has already visited the Southern Province and Kigali city and will visit other parts of the country and present her report by the end of this week.