Members of civil society urged all parties concerned to ensure that people whose properties are affected by a public infrastructure project are expropriated before the project can begin in order to avoid recurring injustices.
In his recent appearance before Parliament, Claver Gatete, the Minister of Infrastructure said that all institutions were informed that from 2022 no project should start until all those affected have duly paid their compensation. .
It was responding to questions raised in the annual report of the Commission on Human Rights, which stated that expropriation arrears continue to appear in every annual report.
âFor all future projects, the expropriation will start first and we will start construction activities once all the expropriation costs have been disbursed,â said Minister Gatete.
“In collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, we will begin to mobilize all funds for construction once the feasibility studies and the expropriation process are completed,” he added.
In an exclusive interview with New times, Emile Baganizi, Deputy Director General of the Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA) said the development will help his institution in different ways.
“This will help speed up our projects, because we will be faster, and we also will not receive these complaints as they sometimes hamper our work and affect our deadlines,” he said.
However, some activists who spoke to the New Times said he did not need a new directive because that is what the current laws say, and instead urged the government to ensure that it does so. be implemented.
âThis has been said over and over again, even before 2014, but nothing has really changed,â replied Marie ImmaculÃ©e Ingabire, president of Transparency International Rwanda.
“It is even stipulated in the law that people must be expropriated after receiving all the costs of the expropriation, and that a project must start with a sufficient budget to carry it to the end,” she said. added, citing that it is not respected.
Ingabire proposes that more action be taken, including punishing heads of institutions who undertake public projects before affected residents are fully expropriated and paid.
Similar sentiments were shared by Evariste Murwanashyaka, the coordinator of CLADHO, an umbrella association of human rights organizations in Rwanda, who says that there is nothing new in development.
“It is not announced for the first time, it has been declared even in the last few years, but we have continued to receive the same complaints. So, we advocate that for this time it is not put into practice that in ads, âhe observed.
Contacted for a comment, Madeleine Nirere, she also welcomed the development which, according to her, would be the way forward.
“This is a very timely decision, but the same was made a long time ago, it should be the way it is, because you cannot expect to move residents without enough expense that they move to another place, “she told this newspaper. .
A total of 46 cases of complaints regarding expropriation arrears were reported to the Ombudsman’s office during the 2020-2021 fiscal year, and they represent 12% of the total cases received by the watchdog.