Kwa Dubai: Key questions on impending demolition of houses

Kwa Dubai: Key questions on impending demolition of houses
Kwa Dubai: Key questions on impending demolition of houses

Africa-Press – Rwanda. A number of questions surround the way forward on Urukumbuzi estates (Kwa Dubai) in the wake of the City of Kigali’s announcement that it will demolish 28 of the houses.

In an interview last month, City Mayor Samuel Dusengiyumva talked about the demolition, noting that the estate’s proprietor John Nsabimana alias Dubai is expected to compensate the house owners for the shoddy work.

He added that the government will facilitate the victims to sue the investor. But a number of questions arise regarding the process, especially on the house owners’ side. For instance, does the compensation depend on the outcome of the trial? If yes, what happens in case the investor wins it? The New Times reached out to the City of Kigali to ask such questions but the officials did not respond by press time.

However, Ernest Ngoga, a Legal expert in governance law told The New Times that the court case does not deter the city of Kigali from carrying out the demolition since it is not about proving whether the houses are substandard or not, but rather it is about criminal charges like corruption which might have been involved in the construction process.

Whatever the result of the current criminal trial will be, the house owners can file a civil case for compensation against the investor, The New Times understands.

Meanwhile, the house owners continue to grapple with the bank loans they took to buy the houses. Despite the fact that city officials promised to ask the banks to restructure the payment process, The New Times understands that the banks declined the city’s request

In addition to this, there are concerns that the city of Kigali is not communicating its decisions with the house owners, a factor that gives them no chance to participate in the way forward.

“They called us once, many months ago, to tell us to vacate. They have never given us any more communication,” the house owners who required anonymity said.

She threatened that if they demolish her house without her consent, she will sue them.

“If they are to demolish my house, they will first pay me. In fact, to be clear, I don’t want any money, I want my house back. They did not share with us the report of the examination they did on the houses, but I know my house is okay, because unlike other tenants, I inspected my house when it was being built,” she said.

The city of Kigali administration has also been blamed for changing its statements.

“At first when they came and told us to vacate the houses, they said they were going to renovate them. They gave us six months to do that. From then to today, they have never done a thing on them. The houses just got worse because they are not inhabited and taken care of,” she noted.

Some of the reasons that the city of Kigali gives for the demolition of the houses is that they are becoming a haven for robbers after the relocation of the owners.

But the house owner in question says the city of Kigali promised them security for the houses once they relocated, but that has not been done satisfactorily.

“The houses are not safe. Even their physical state is continuing to deteriorate,” she said.

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