Rubavu District is safe – Vice Mayor
Written by: George Kalisa
Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018, 1:58
The Vice Mayor in Charge of Economic Development, Janvier Murenzi has told The Light Magazine that insecurity in the Eastern part of neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has not affected development of Rubavu District in any way. Aside from glaring economic developments the district is proud of, Murenzi during the interview with George Kalisa, highlighted numerous pertinent issues, including the aftermath of recent disasters that left three people injured, hundreds homeless and 924 houses washed away. Below are excerpts.
Q: How has Rubavu District assisted the over 1000 residents who were reportedly displaced by floods and others who had their crops destroyed recently? Did you receive any form relief?
A: Flood victims mainly those who became homeless received assistance from the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR) in partnership with Red Cross Rwanda. The victims were sheltered by their neighbours. MIDIMAR provided basic relief supplies like mats, blankets and other household items.
On March 5, 2018 a delegation constituting MIDIMAR minister Jeanne d’Arc De Bonheur, the Governor of Western Province Alphonse Munyantwari, Rubavu District Mayor Gilbert Habyarimana, REB officials and security officers in the Province visited Nyundo School of Arts and Music, and residents who live in the vicinity of River Sebeya.
Q: Vice Mayor, what did the visit mean to the disaster victims?
A First of all, the visit that followed the disaster that hit on March3, 2018 intended to assess the magnitude of destruction, stand with the victims in such hard and painful moments and express our solidarity alongside providing basic supplies including scholastic materials to the students at Nyundo School of Arts and Music.
During the visit, the minister delivered household materials worth Rwf4.3m while Red Cross Rwanda provided supplies worth Rwf15m to about 300 disaster victims in the sectors of Nyundo, Kanama, Nyakaliba and Rugerero.
Q: There has been insecurity in the Eastern DRC for now decades. Rubavu District borders with this region. Has the insecurity had any spillover effects of any form on the economy and stability of your district, Sir?
A: It’s true, insecurity has lingered on for now decades and has reportedly claimed thousands of lives and left thousands displaced internally while many thousands live as refugees in neighbouring countries. We are concerned as fellow Africans and neighbours, and the situation there attracts our sympathy, indeed.
It is equally true that insecurity in DRC, particularly in the Eastern region we share borders with has not at all affected the economy of Rubavu District nor the residents. On the contrary, our people have enjoyed assured security and have not experienced any sort of tensions linked to the insecurity in spite of the fact that our neighbours have not tested peace for years. With time, our residents have developed trust and confidence that insecurity cannot cross into Rwanda because of the strong and reliable national security that largely results from the mutual and healthy cooperation between the Rwanda Defense Forces (RDF) and the residents in ensuring sustainable security and stability in the country.
Q: Could you explain how Rubavu District residents benefit from the cross border trade? How many residents are employed in this form of trade?
A: Since the border is the first in Rwanda and third in Africa in receiving many visitors [passengers] per day averaging between 40, 000- 45,000. Rubavu residents and others from neighbouring districts highly benefit from the lucrative cross border market for mostly agricultural produce. For instance, producers of meat, eggs, irish potatoes, beans among others have enjoyed a big market created by this booming cross border trade.
Apart from the market for agricultural produce, some of the residents in Rubavu District have taken advantage of the huge job market in the border city of Goma where some of them work as constructors. In addition, Rubavu District owns a cooperative of people with disabilities called COTRARU that mostly deals in cargo transport in the cross border trade. Hence, the cross border trade has by far contributed to the improvement of livelihoods of our people and as a district we readily provide assistance whenever they need it.
Q: How was the army week launched on April20 of help to the people of Rubavu?
A: Besides the usual activities done during the RDF Citizen Outreach programme, this year the Army put emphasis on the fight against the infamous disease that has previously attacked banana plants locally known as kirabiranya. They also helped to construct houses and pit latrines for vulnerable households as well as providing free healthcare services to residents among others.
Q: Youth unemployment is a problem everywhere. What are some of the strategies in place to reduce economic vice in your district?
A: Yes, youth unemployment is so central in the district’s programmes. Rubavu District has a programme that helps the youth to start income generating projects in order to reduce youth unemployment. The district provides technical services whenever the youth are preparing project proposals, identifies and negotiates with potential financial institutions that can provide credit in form of loans to the youth projects in the district. Yet, the district assists the youth that graduate from technical and vocational institutions with basic equipment that can help them start working as soon as possible.
Q: Water transport on Lake Kivu used to be very hard in the last ten years. What efforts has the district put in place to improve it?
A: We have good news related to the project of building the four modern ports at Braserie, Nkora, Karongi and Rusizi in line with the government’s plan of developing maritime transport, trade and tourism around Lake Kivu. So far, the government of Rwanda has received $12m for kick starting the construction of the ports particularly at Braserie and Rusizi. And, at the beginning of December this year construction will start that will take about one year.
It is anticipated that the ports that will be managed by private investors will be opened by the end of December 2019.
Q: Any message to Rwandans and Rubavu district residents as we celebrate the 24th liberation anniversary July4?
A: On behalf of the Rubavu District authorities I call on Rwandans and residents in the district to continue supporting President Paul Kagame and the RPF-Inkotanyi led government efforts towards unity and reconciliation, safeguarding security and stability so that the country does not return to the divisive politics that culminated in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. We argue our people to embrace the culture of hard work to develop themselves and their country, human capital being a key resource to nation.