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close this bookRwanda - Health Sector Needs and Recommendations for the Transition Phase (Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, 1998, 39 p.)
close this folder2. Rwanda: the larger picture
View the document(introduction...)
View the document2.1. War and insecurity
View the document2.2. Mass displacements in the region
View the document2.3. Food and malnutrition
View the document2.4. Poor human resource base
View the document2.5. Groups with special needs
View the document2.6. Emerging and re-emerging diseases
View the document2.7. Ownership of land and homes

2.7. Ownership of land and homes

Finally, scarcity of housing and limned access to land are central issues that remain unsolved and aggravate social tensions. As far as land is concerned, the high density of population and hilly terrain had always been a fundamental source of tension. Due to the crisis, the juggling of land and home ownership between “old case-loads” and “new case-loads” of returnees are a source of major discontent and could degenerate into communal violence. Most recently in October 1997, the Prefect of Kigali reiterated the eviction orders given to a group consisting mostly of survivors of the genocide and those from the “old case-load”, demanding they move into homes of plastic sheeting.

Having identified the major problems that cripple the country and threaten international aid, a few words on some of the positive elements are warranted.

First, a major part of the country is recovering from the crisis, rebuilding public infrastructures and systems. Many provinces of the country are stable and reconstruction has begun. In particular, most of the health infrastructure (which was relatively good prior to the war) has been reconstructed and is more or less operational (see Table 2, Chapter 6). Second, the international community (including most of the EU member states), each within its own context, has generally adopted a policy of support for the government with consensus on the importance of having a functioning government in place7. The government of Rwanda is actively working on clear policies for sustainable development and is finalising development plans and a macro-economic framework in the major sectors with the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other bi-lateral donors.

7However, the international community is watching closely the tensions in the western part of Rwanda, which is not officially recognised by the government of Rwanda at this time (November 1997).

Unfortunately, very recently, there are some indications that the even-handedness of the government is breaking down, as possible precursors to renewed problems8. A growing number of Rwandese are beginning to question the government's policies and management practices citing corruption and mismanagement at high levels.

8Helping the Government to maintain a stable presence, providing services to its population and dispense justice would be the most effective conflict prevention action at this time.