Kagame’s New Times Has Over The Years Dependably Blown The Whistle On The Deadly Health Hazards In Kigali, A Capital City Of Millions, With No Sewer System
By David Himbara
Rwanda’s capital city of Kigali is twice the size of Boston, USA. But Kigali does not have a sewer system. The cumulative raw sewage of 1.5 million Kigali residents flows through open drains, mixing with ubiquitous piles of garbage and wastewater. According to Rwanda’s Water and Sanitation Corporation (WASAC), over 500 tons of untreated solid waste are daily ditched at Kigali’s main waste dumpsite at Nduba. Shockingly, the Nduba dumpsite sits on the hilltop overlooking and in close proximity to Kigali’s residential neighbourhoods. The result is predictable. The mass of contaminants in the untreated waste is discharged into Kigali’s water system, including the city’s main water catchment, the Nyabugogo River and its surrounding wetlands.
Credit is due to The New Times, whose raison d’être is usually cheerleading the Rwandan ruler, General Paul Kagame. Nevertheless, the paper has been at the forefront of publishing the horrors of discharging untreated waste into Kigali waters. Here is how The New Times, from 2007 to 2023, publicized the long-standing failure of the Kagame regime to build a safe and effective sewage disposal system for 1.5 million residents of Rwanda’s capital city.
The toxic filth discharged into Kigali waters and the resulting deadly health hazards have not deterred General Kagame and his army of publicists from fraudulently marketing Kigali as Africa’s cleanest and greenest city. Some clueless minds swallowed the big lie, not least, the United Nations Environment Programme head, Eric Solheim, who proclaimed Kigali the “cleanest city on the planet.” Calling a city with a poisonous underbelly, the centre of urban excellence in Africa, recalls the Biblical rebuke of rulers obsessed with cleanliness on the outside but filthy on the inside:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”
On the outside, General Kagame’s state-of-the-art megastructures – the Kigali Convention Center, the Bank of Kigali Arena, five stars hotels and modern buildings – have turned Kigali into seemingly “Africa’s cleanest city.” But on the inside it is a deathly waste dump. As The New Times once reported, “With every household forced to have at least two pits in the compound, one for solid waste and the other for water, it takes acrobatic feats to manage them, especially when they need to be emptied but access becomes impossible because of poor planning.” The paper added dryly that “with hilly Kigali sitting on tens of thousands of ‘heavy pits,’ as some comedian say, it might just sink.” How will this end? Stay tuned.