Residents of a slum near a sought-after area of Rwanda’s capital have been told they must leave their homes by November and move into apartments that have been built on an estate on the outskirts of the city.
Pudence Rubingisa, Kigali’s mayor, said the decision had been taken because the slum was built on marshland considered a “high-risk zone”.
But residents are angry and say their land is being sold to a foreign investor without their consent.
They said that they were not consulted about moving to the estate and they would prefer to receive proper compensation for their land, which is worth a lot of money as it neighbours the upmarket suburb of Nyarutarama.
“Our land and properties are expensive, they did not want to pay us all so they are building houses to move us in by force,” one of the residents said.
Many people in the slum also make money from renting out rooms in their houses, which they will not be able to do in apartment blocks that are far from the city centre.
“They are taking us into small room apartments – an unfamiliar lifestyle to us, with no land and without our consent. They should pay us and let us be free,” another resident said.
Rwanda’s law on the expropriation of land promises “fair compensation in monetary form or in any other form mutually agreed upon by the expropriator and the person to be expropriated”.