By David Himbara
President Paul Kagame’s “economic miracle” is a sick joke. Even his own New Times once in a while shows Kagame’s delusions. Take for example the story about Rwandan bridges in The New Times of March 5, 2017. According to the newspaper, Rwandan bridges are “dilapidated over old age, some having been constructed during the colonial era.”
This is not the first time The New Times described Rwandan bridges as disaster. Back in December 2011, the paper wrote about the “dilapidated bridges” in parts of the country that “paralyzed” transport.
The bridge situation is such a dismal state that the country is a haven for charity groups who build footbridges to help rural Rwandans to cross rivers.
In April 2016, for example, British volunteers built a suspended footbridge across the River Akanyaru. American charity groups have also built several footbridges. As the British team explained, the bridge they built replaced “a dangerous temporary timber footbridge that was impassable during the two month rainy season.” According to the volunteers,
“The new bridge is a lifeline that connects a community of approximately 1,500 people to vital amenities that are only available on the far side of the river. This includes regional markets for farmers to sell their produce, schools and education for the local children, and clinics and healthcare facilities for pregnant mothers and the sick.”
In much of rural Rwanda there are no bridges. Local communities simply lay trees across rivers to commute to markets, to school, and to medical centres.
During the rainy season, the trees that act as “bridges” are often washed away, leaving the villages isolated for weeks, if not for months.
The dismal state of Rwandan bridges cannot be separated from that of the country’s roads. Rwanda’s road network consists of the following:
As is indicated in the above table, of 14,000 total roads in Rwanda, only 1,172 km (8.3%) are paved. Out of the total 1,017 roads in Kigali city, only 153 km (14%) are paved.
Economic miracle? What a big lie!