A case involving more than 1,545 Bannyahe slum residents who are seeking compensation still drags after their lawsuit was dropped due to procedural problems, following Kigali City’s response to formally appeal the lawsuit last week on Wednesday.
This came after the Gasabo Intermediate Court dropped their case against Gasabo District on February 11 over breach of procedure.
While the residents said they had complained to different government organs including the Ministry of Local Government before taking up litigation, the court ruled that they failed to appeal to City of Kigali, which is the custodian of the expropriation exercise in Gasabo district.
In a letter addressed to Kigali City Mayor Marie Chantal Rwakazina on February 20, the lawyer representing more than 504 landlords requested the City halt the proposed expropriation in Gasabo District as they await alternative housing as compensation.
Officials from Gasabo District are trying to get the residents out of the slum earmarked for high-end housing by Savannah Creek.
The law on expropriation in the public interest provides for payment of fair compensation “in monetary form agreed on by the expropriator and the person to be expropriated.” So far, out of more than 1,624 home owners to be expropriated across four villages of Kangondo and Kibiraro in Nyarutarama Cell, only 79 have signed the consent letters accepting the compensation of houses from the Gasabo District.
In addition to the 504 people who are currently pursuing a legal solution, more than 1,041 people also oppose the proposed compensation, but cite inability to foot legal bills as the reason they could not go to court.
Bannyahe is mainly inhabited by the Kigali City’s lowest income earners. They claim that although they did not oppose the resettlement, District authorities and the investor did not allow them to negotiate their compensation and instead imposed alternative houses.
The standoff over relocation terms has already affected the initial time lines of the project by Savannah Creek which was expected to start by January 2019.