The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has tasked the City of Kigali to find an immediate lasting solution to the increasing piles of waste in the city which poses a threat to the livelihoods of residents.
Currently all waste in Kigali is being dumped in Nduba sector, a city suburb for the last five years but residents in the dump vicinity are crying that the waste is being a health hazard as it used to be at Nyanza-Kicukiro site where it relocated from.
“Nothing concrete has been done to ensure that lives of people are not in danger. What you did in Nduba is the exact replica of what was in Nyanza…just a copy and paste,” said Hon Juvenal Nkusi, the PAC chairman during today’s hearing at parliament.
The committee says that lack of appropriate action continues to pose an environmental danger to the communities around and this is something that will not be entertained at the policy and implementation levels.
From the Auditor General’s Report 2013/2014 the piles of waste have created a mountain as a result of soil used to cover the dumped waste and during rainy season the waste water slops downhill into the community.
This according to PAC is a lack of initiative and sign that the city has failed to act.
Over Rwf4billion has already been spent on the Nduba dump site and 55families out of 444familes and 179 plots have not yet been expropriated.
“Tell us. Isn’t it true that you just failed to act on this issue and the concerns that come with it?” Nkusi asked.
Sitting face to face with the PAC committee, the newly elected City Mayor, Monique Mukaruliza, attributed the problem to lack of a proper investor to build a plant that can process the waste.
This, she said, is coupled with limited funds to expropriate the residents at the dumping site vicinity.
“We are waiting to get an investor. Rwanda Development Board is negotiating with some,” said Mukaruliza.
She also said in the past Mauritius investors were partnering with the city, but “we resolved to quit the deal because they didn’t have a clear plan how to manage the waste. We are still waiting for a potential investor.”
Pushed to explain why the city has not moved on to get some funds to complete the project, Mukaruliza looked at former mayor Fidele Ndayisaba for help.
Ndayisaba said the initial costs were budgeted at $17million (Rwf13.6billion) to build a site on Mount Kigali-Nyarugenge district, which was expected to solve the problem once and for all.
“We asked for this money and all we received was Rwf700million with Finance Ministry promising to raise another Rwf1 billion in the following fiscal year but due to priorities we didn’t get the money,” Ndayisaba explained.
Analysing the responses and facts on ground, the PAC committee said that even with the available funds something should have been done before the city made the decision to shift the dump site to Nduba- which has proved to be as dangerous as the previous Nyanza site.
“How come you have not expropriated all the communities and not even showed a tangible plan of planting trees to reduce the gas emissions into the environment. You did not make it a priority,” said MP Theoneste Karenzi, the Deputy PAC chairperson.
The City of Kigali Executive Secretary, JMV Matabaro admitted, “The city made the move without planning and it was unprepared for the outcomes but we failed because of shortage of funds to develop the earlier proposed site at Mount Kigali.”
So far a foreign company has been given the opportunity to recycle the waste at Nduba into briquettes, but the company manages only a few quantity.