Forty- three poor families in Kayonza district are in dire condition after selling their land they had obtained from the government.
The residents are from Rwisirabo Cell, Mwiri Sector in Kayonza District. They were relocated there in 2008 from Mukarange Sector, where they lived in poor conditions without land to cultivate.
The government had given them houses to improve their living conditions, each resident receiving a home and hectare of land to cultivate.
However as of 2014, due to ignorance, they started selling them at low prices, Rwf200,000 an hectare.
When visited by Dr. Alvera Mukabaramba, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Local Government in Charge of Social Affairs last week, one of them said:
“We are living like this because of our ignorance of which some people took advantage of to give us money and we accepted it. We do not blame the government, because it had given us large pieces of land. It was our fault,” he said.
They now work for their neighbors to earn a living.
Many families earn a living by working for their neighbors, others rely on the money they earn from VUP. They have no piece of land to cultivate because they were given pieces of land and sold them, remaining with just houses.
They have low paying jobs. Others are on support of the government. Children school fees is is covered by New Life project, a charity, while the government provides other materials including clothing, notebooks, and other necessities.
They have learned a big lesson, next time, they would not sell them.
Kayonza District Deputy Mayor in charge of Social Welfare, Jean Damascène Harerimana, said that they took measures, and no resident will be allowed to sell his land anyhow.
“We have taken measures for people whom the government gives land to help them uplift themselves and sell them, because we give them land to cultivate and not for sale,” he said.
He added that no other land is expected to be given to the residents, but that they are going to be given a marshland where they will grow rice to generate income.
As to whether they may be supported under the Girinka program, he explained that cows are given to those who are apparently able to care for them. He said when someone is found to be able to care for them, that person is given a cow like others.