Compensate us before eviction, property owners tell city council

Monday September 30 2019

Kigali City authorities want the Bannyahe slum

Kigali City authorities want the Bannyahe slum demolished to give way for a high end residential investment. PHOTO | FILE 

JOHNSON KANAMUGIRE
By JOHNSON KANAMUGIRE
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Weeks after Kigali city officials issued eviction notice to residents of Bannyahe slums, it is not yet clear what will happen to those opposed to the compensation offered.

According to residents, city fathers had not responded to demand letters calling for cancellation of the eviction before compensation.

City officials recently told tenants in the area that they had until end of October to leave the slums and settle elsewhere. The residents are being moved to pave the way for a high-end residential investment.

City mayor Pudence Rubingisa announced the city intended to relocate the first batch of more than 360 families by November.

Residents who spoke to Rwanda Today fear that the city could be planning to force them to accept the proposed compensation plan.

“We see this as an attempt to force us out, because after issuing the notice to our tenants we are unable to get any clients. This is a loss to us since we can’t even sell,” argued Jean Paul Turinabo, one of the affected slum property owners.

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“I will not relent on pursuing justice because there is no basis to inflict a loss on one’s property when there is a pending disagreement,” he added.

Out of more than 1,624 home owners across four villages in Kangondo and Kibiraro in Nyarutara cell whose properties are to be demolished, only 79 accepted the compensation terms offered by the city. Hundreds of the aggrieved property owners are in court demanding compensation.

Jean de Dieu Shikama, a resident, told Rwanda Today that the few families that signed up for the “house as compensation” option had not been briefed about the details of the relocations.

City officials had not responded to our request for a comment by press time.

City mayor had earlier indicated that among the slum dwellers are those whose properties are in locations earmarked as wetlands and those in the high risk prone category for which government has an existing plan to move to safety and with urgency.

From the beginning of the project, landlords feared they would lose rental income.

According to the landlords, the city officials did not address concerns by both the landlords or even the tenants, who indicated that they had paid rent for up to six months and feared losing in case they are evicted.

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