77 year-old Claudette Mukaruhama want her land back as she has long been appealing to the local administration to help her get justice to win back her land that a military officer registered to his name.
Mukaruhama stays in Kamanga Village, Sibagire Cell, Kigabiro Sector in , Rwamagana District but she says she was told that she is accommodated in the land that she considers her own, living with her granddaughter after she lost her daughter, the granddaughter’s mum.
She insists she sold a land plot to a military officer known under the names Gervais Harelimana. She does not know where he went since she sold the plot to him and made a mutation process.
The sold plot is far away from Mukaruhama’s home stay. How, however, she was surprised to see all the land registered to Harerimana while she sold one part of the land.
She told Bwiza.com that two years have passed since she kept going to see the local authorities appealing for justice over her land but in vain.
She said, “the plot I sold to the man is far away from here [home to Mukaruhama] it is my daughter who built a house where I am currently staying before she died, there is a separate plot from where this house is that I sold to another man. They [land authorities] come to measure the land that I sold to that man, they told me that I have no space left for me because the remaining space where my house is belongs to Harelimana”
I immediately made a quick follow up about this case. I approached the chief of the village and told me that he has nothing to with it since we had a bust up. I went to the Sector but they did not help me either. I decided to take my case to the District but they told me to go back to the sector. Now I was told to take it to the community mediators.
Mukaruhama reveals that the problems she has had with the village chief blocked her case get through.
She said, “ when I sold that plot, I gave Rwf 400 000 to the chief of the village so he can save it for me at the SACCO but he debited only Rwf 290 000 and put the remaining Rwf 110 000 in his pocket. I guessed it when I went to withdraw it and see only Rwf 290 000. People can testify. He admitted he pocked itand agreed to pay me back but he didn’t, in reality and said he will never get involved in solving my problems at the village level he represents and he sure did”
In the last couple of days, people have been throwing stones over my house and when I tried to report it to him [the chief of village] he said told me it is none of his business until the cell administration recommended a night security for me. He could not tell the truth because he is aware of that all”
Neighbors, too, wants Mukaruhama’s problem addressed.
An unidentified resident said there is part of land that Mukaruhama did not sell
He says, “ Mukaruhama had the land on which her daughter Anastasie built a house before she died leaving her daughter Charles [born to an unknown father] with his grandmother [Mukaruhama]. We all know that she faced injustice and the local administration should help her because she is getting fed up with such circulations appealing for her land”
Radjabu Kanyeshyamba, the village chief says military officer Gervais Harelimana refused to meet the local administration because he has all the land title certificates but suggests the case might be beyond her ability so it can be solve by higher his superior authorities.
He said, “ Gervais refused to bring back the land title saying he will buy the remaining part of Mukaruhama’s land. We called him for negotiations but he refused to come …. I think the authorities from higher level can do something about the issue”
However, Gervais Harerimana, who is said to have all Mukaruhama’s land titles refuted claims that he wants to get the old woman’s remaining land by force, telling Bwiza.com on phone that the machine made some errors while doing mutation for the sold land
He said, “The problem lies to the land title registration staffs’ machine which made some errors while doing mutation. I quickly took the land title to them to make some corrections. I, but the land staff, should not be blamed for her problem. Had she not sold the other land to another person I would not have known that there is problem either”
He added that he has been wondering he keeps paying heavy taxes over a small area of land he bought and got confused as he was paying taxes for the land which is not her own and calls the responsible land authorities to address the problem he is looking forward to benefiting, too, from their decision-making on the issue.
The local administration is soon solving Mukaruhama’s problem, according to Jeanne Mutoni, the Vice Mayor of Rwamagana District in charge on Social Affairs.
Mutoni says, “ I was not aware of the case but we are going to make a quick follow- up on it. We will ask her neighbors because they probably know her case until we make sure she does not face injustice.