A high-end estate project behind the controversial Bannyahe slum evictions will kick off next year despite continuing resistance from occupants who are opposed to the compensation terms.
Investors in the real estate project revealed that they were pushing ahead with its implementation early next year after the planned completion and subsequent handover of the first bunch of accommodation meant to house more than 1,624 area homeowners.
“For all our intending buyers, the project effectively starts next year in January assuming that nothing blocks our plans which is not anticipated anyway.
Next year is when we expect that the locals or bigger number of them will have moved,” said Denis Karera, chairman of Gold Capital Investment, a shareholder in the Savannah Creek Development company co-owned with the Finnish investors.
Mr Karera said the company plans to put up between 100 and 150 houses in the first phase and proceed with other phases.
However, much as he admits that controversies surrounding the relocation of the slum occupants were a challenge to the project, he said the company is keen on completing and handing over the Busanza houses to Kigali City council which oversees the exercise.
“We are working in day and evening shifts and we should hand over the houses to local government by the end of this month or early next month. Kigali City council will be the one moving the people,” he said.
For many families in the slum, the process to get them out until now continues to be marred by bitter controversies that only multiplied their miseries, as properties have not been put to any use ever since Kigali city flagged them for demolition three years ago.
Save for only 79 property owners who signed up for houses as compensation in addition to families whose homes were demolished in the wetland buffers on the promise that they get alternative homes worth their property value, all others rejected the compensation terms offered by the City.