Kagame’s Sewage Raises Questions – Pray That Crystal Ventures Will Not Get Involved And Eat The Cash

By David Himbara

Kigali is nasty – raw sewage from residential, commercial, industrial buildings is dumped into rivers and lakes. After years of neglecting this terrible threat to the health of more than a million people, General Paul Kagame just acquired a loan to build a sewage system in Kigali. The European Development Bank and the African Development Bank are providing €88 million while the Kagame regime is putting in €8 million. The total amount for Kagame’s sewage in dollar terms is US$118 million.

I have two concerns about Kagame’s sewage system. Is US$118 million enough to build an efficient and comprehensive sewage system for Kigali? Will the ruling party’s Crystal Ventures Ltd not get the contract and eat the money?

To Begin With, US$118 Million Sounds Rather Too Little To Get The Job Done

As shown in the Diagram, a sewage system is a fairly complex infrastructure with at least 4 main components:

  • Component 1 is the sanitary sewer in residential, commercial and industrial buildings that transports raw sewage to the next destination.
  • Component 2 is the treatment plant which removes contaminants from sewage. Physical, chemical, and biological processes are used to remove contaminants and produce treated wastewater that is safer for releasing into the environment.
The treatment plant is the most complex part of the sewage system from pretreatment to tertiary treatment.
  • Component 3 releases treated water safely into the environment such as a river, lake, or sea.
  • Component 4 is the storm sewer that catches and purifies stormwater and releases it into the environment.

So is Kagame’s sewage system designed to address all the 4 components at US$118 million? Is this possible?

Kigali’s Terrain Is Not That Easy

Kigali is hilly and not easy – construction in these hills is extremely difficult. The majority of Kigalians by far live in slums. What happens to the slums? Will they be connected to Kagame’s sewage system?

Consider The Case Of The Victoria Sewage System

The City of Victoria in Canada has a population of less than 400,000. In 2016, Victoria City estimated that its sewage treatment options would run between Can$1 billion and Can$1.3 billion — far in excess of an earlier Can$788-million plan. Can$1 billion is equivalent to US$787 million.

Kagame’s sewage for a population of over 1 million people will cost US$118 million. Does this make sense?

Crystal Ventures Ltd Might Eat The Money And Build A Shoddy Product

In Kagame’s Rwanda, Crystal Ventures Ltd is everywhere — it feeds off Kagame’s cash and loans. One would tolerate this misery and thieving if the ruling party’s group of companies actually delivered. Recall Huye Stadium constructed by Real Contractors, a subsidiary of Crystal Ventures. The stadium was beset by design flaws, pay disputes — completion was delayed by four years. The final product was shoddy.

Pray that Crystal Ventures Ltd does not get involved in Kagame’s sewage.