THE IGNORANCE of the law remains a challenge among many residents despite efforts to curb the problem by both government and civil society organisations.
This observation was made in Muko and Musanze Sectors from Musanze District during a two days community dialogues aiming at enhancing the citizen’s participation in various policies through dialogue habit.
The dialogues brought together grassroots leaders from village to the sectors level, local opinion leaders and CLADHO, the umbrella body of human rights organisations in Rwanda.
During the dialogues grassroots leaders expressed the common issue of some residents who spend much of their time in disputes which hinder their development as they do not find the time to strive for their family’s progress.
Land related conflicts come at edge among the disputes that the residents face as described by Ally Niyoyita, the executive secretary of Cyabagarura Cell from Musanze Sector.
“Citizens spend much of their time within unfinished disputes based more often on land some locals confront over centimeters of land, it therefore takes the grassroots leaders to concentrate on those disputes looking for conciliation rather than focusing on the implementation of various policies that Government put in place to speed up the country’s development.” he explained.
Jean Ngendahayo, the director of agriculture and natural resource in Musanze District said the fact many residents dump into land related conflict is that they are unaware of law, stressing that the district with its partners launched various initiatives aiming at alerting the citizen’s awareness on the law.
“Unfortunately the land related disputes lead to serious problems including the killings.” He noted
However, Emmanuel Safari, the CLADHO Executive Secretary said awareness on the law governing a country helps speeding up its development and He called on concerned organs particularly the National Commission for Human Right to make more public all the laws which are published in Official Gazette.
“When you are aware of a certain law you become its slave- to mean you do everything positive in its honor by respecting what it forbids, contrary ignorance of the law brings distractions. Alertness on the law helps fast tracking the country’s development as it blocks social conflicts before they are taken to the courts of law.” He said.
“When the law is passed and published in the official Gazette it is probably kept in the cupboard which is unfortunate, so we are calling upon the National Commission for Human Right, officials in charge of human right at district level as well as the local government body in general to set a steady programme in which law-related information should be channeled.” He added.
Safari summons the residents to honor court decisions by not resisting to court bailiffs while executing court orders as well as obeying local mediators (known as Abunzi in Kinyarwanda).
CLADHO says it commits to strengthening citizen participation in various policies through dialogue habit throughout its project dubbed ‘Ijwi ry’Umuturage’ loosely translated as The Citizen voice.
The project operates in the three Districts namely Gisagara, Musanze and Ngororero under the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).