November 17, 2021

RSSB Abandons Plans to Redevelop Site Named After Ex-president Mbonyumutwa

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The current state of the site

Plans by the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) to construct multipurpose facility at site where Rwanda’s monarchy was abolished, may be no more.

The site was location for Gitarama stadium, located in current Muhanga district. More than 10 years, government opted to redevelop the site. RSSB was given the site for free.

This site has a rather unwelcome history. The stadium is where on January 28, 1961, the acting prime minister Gregoire Kayibanda, declared the monarchy had been abolished.

After independence the following year, Kayibanda became Rwanda’s first President.

Dominique Mbonyumutwa, the politician who was interim president during the period between end of monarchy and independence, would later be buried in this Gitarama stadium in 1986.

With the post-1994 dispensation, the new government controversially exhumed and relocated the body of Mbonyumutwa to the local public cemetery in May 2010.

Since then, Muhanga district transferred the ownership of this historic site to RSSB.

The Board planned to build a facility that could provide various services including a 4,000 seater conference center.

The site was even fenced off. However, it is emerging that RSSB has written to Muhanga district asking for refund of Rwf 21m because it no longer wants the site.

As the situation stands, Muhanga cannot take possession of the site before making the refund. The district has to budget it on its meagre resources.

The RSSB letter doesn’t say what the money is for. But speculation among local politicians is that the refund is for expenses incurred when relocating Mbonyumutwa remains and the fencing on the site.

Meanwhile, HORIZON, ruling RPF party affiliated road construction firm, keeps its equipment and materials in the contested site.

This is how it looked like many years ago before the pavilion was demolished

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