Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Trouble among the bananas

From today's "New Times" newspaper. There are many small patches of banana trees within the built up area of Gitarama and other settlements locally. These are popular with their owners, many of whom have moved into the town from the countryside and for whom the presence of banana trees is an emotional link with their roots. But the District wants to increase the amount of food produced from these urban parcels of land and argues that other crops are more productive than bananas. The result has been a stand off in Gitarama; everyone has been talking about it over the past few days. Here's how the news reports it:

Various residents in Muhanga District have complained about the district’s decision to cut down all banana plantations which are deemed unproductive.

The residents in Muhanga sector particularly accused Mark Munyemana, the sector agronomist, of enforcing the decision selectively.

“We support the land consolidation programme, however the agronomists have indiscriminately destroyed the plantations without prior consultations,” said Ceasaria Mukangoga, 65-year old genocide survivor and widow.

Following the complaints, district officials visited the site on October 13, and ordered the local leaders and residents who destroyed Mukangoga’s plantation to compensate her immediately.

However, Munyemana, denied ever enforcing the directive selectively, arguing that the banana plantations were cut down after informing residents, and only the unproductive plants were destroyed.

It however, took the intervention of Celse Gasana, the sector executive secretary to calm down angry residents.

Calling on residents to start cutting down their own plantations, Gasana noted that it was evident that the process had been poorly implemented.

Similar complaints have been raised in Shogwe, Cyeza, and Nyamabuye sectors.

The district started enforcing the cutting down of banana plantations at the beginning of the month, to pave way for implementation of the land consolidation programme.

The cleared areas are supposed to be used for planting what was deemed as more productive crops chosen by the community.

The governor Fidele Ndayisaba, has previously blamed local leaders for not clearly sensitising residents about the new land consolidation programme, which has caused a major misunderstanding between local leaders and citizens.

1 comment:

David said...

Bruce, your Yahoo email account is bouncing messages. I did get your response to my original email and would like to follow up.

Do you have an alternative email address?


David Thomas