Rwanda Boosts Population Influx Response Capabilities

By Brian Katabazi, ailment pharmacy

I must first appreciate the work being done by national water and sewage cooperation of making sure that most areas in the entire country have access to clean water.

The spokesperson of national water and sewage cooperation, prescription in his new vision article dated 9th January 2015, clinic stated that, the cooperation has increased water access from 27 towns to 74 towns.

I must also thank the government of Uganda for this wonderful achievement. There was advancement of seventy to eighty kilometers per year to four hundred seventy kilometers of piped water across the country over the past few years.

Recently, the hot zone for NWSC is Rukungiri where locals are raising issues of inhibitive water pricing. The spokesperson of NWSC Apidel wrote that NWSC was invited by local leaders of Rukungiri district to take over water.

This is not true. National Water and Sewage Cooperation took over the roles of water production, distribution and sewage services following the statutory notice no 12 of 2014 (The Uganda gazette), allotted by minister of water and environment acting in accordance with powers vested in him by section 45, part 3 and section 46 of water Act, cp.152 hence de-gazetting Rukungiri Town council from being the water and sewage authority in Rukuingiri district.

When communities heard that NWSSC took over the water, they welcomed the annexation hoping the services will be more competent and cost effective for households, schools, health centers, churches and small trading centers of community life in Rural Uganda.

Then how come prices hiked when NWSC took over compared to what these community members used to pay? Morrison Rwakakamba, in his  article dated 7th January  2015   in many media platforms cleverly stated that “ Water is a public utility and not a commodity like tooth picks, sugar , biscuits or candy where arguments of demand and supply settle price contestations” meaning NWSC should not take water as a commodity.


Apidel raises a point that 1500 shillings which buys a liter of mineral water buys 42 jerry cans but to his information, he should understand that mineral water is a commodity being traded by private companies unlike NWSC which is a quasi-government body.

My question stands: can people afford buying that water being availed by National water and sewage cooperation?  Water is life hence remains very critical in people’s lives. School going pupils and homes have gone back to sharing water sources with animals which in the long run will head them to acquiring diseases related to poor hygiene.

This will sabotage Uganda in meeting her millennium development goals (MDGS) and ensuing post MDG agenda. National water and sewage cooperation should stop denying people life through hiking water price rates.

In a recent ‘stakeholder’ meeting in Rukungiri, NWSC sought to placate leaders into their corporate theory of change which is water availability instead of water accessibility. When water is available and not accessible because of repellent price.

The headmaster of St. Jorome Ndama in Kebisoni, narrated how a functioning tap stand at the school can’t be used by children because the school can no longer afford to pay.

These are issues that NWSC and ambivalent local leadership can’t wish away. From what I have been hearing, the story of Rukungiri is the story of Uganda.

Concerned citizen from Rukungiri District.
Over 100 people from both government and various humanitarian organizations have completed a three-day simulation exercise on mass refugees’ influx.

The exercise named “Twitegurire hamwe” that took place in Musanze District recently was organized jointly by the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees Affairs (Midimar), click Rwanda National Police (RNP) and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

Officials from organizing institutions confirmed that National that exercise has significantly boosted the capacity at national level to respond to any eventual mass population influx.

During the three-day simulation exercise, drug a command post was created at Musanze Stadium, information pills where individuals from various agencies went through drills to improve their capabilities and knowledge on mass migration handling.

Adam Saber, the UNHCR country representative, said preparing for emergency in any country should be a standard practice and a part of daily life.

“Preparing for an emergency does not mean that it is going to happen. It simply allows appropriate response in the unfortunate event that an emergency does occur,” Saber said.

Azam Saber said that this exercise has been a great achievement since it became a standalone opportunity for UNHCR staff to interact with all actors involved in response in case of mass refugees influx. He noted that UNHCR staff has acquired necessary capabilities to effectively work with other stakeholders to respond in case of emergency.

“According to the contingency plan, UNHCR is a lead of all humanitarian actors during mass refugees’ influx. It has been a good opportunity for UNHCR staff to interact with all actors intervening during such emergency like the police and army, local leaders and other stakeholders.” Said Azam Saber

Seraphine Mukantabana, the Minister for Disaster Management and Refugees Affairs, noted that during the last three years, Rwanda experienced in different scenarios mass population emergencies like the reception of more than 30,000 Congolese refugees and the eviction of 14,000 Rwandan from Tanzania.

She revealed that though the country managed to handle those issues, there were some challenges related to coordination of different intervening actors.

“This exercise was necessary to address the challenges and fill the gaps that have been identified during the previous emergencies in order to boost preparedness to respond whenever similar emergencies occur” Said Mukantabana

“I am strongly convinced that now, Rwanda has required capacity and a strong team standby to effectively intervene whenever mass refugees influx enters in our country” Confirmed Minister Mukantabana.

The Minister explained that the simulation exercise stemmed from a framework created by the ministry to prepare Rwanda not only for a massive influx of refugees but for natural disasters that may lead to mass displacement of populations.

The exercise was attended by over 100 participants drawn from various institutions dealing involved in response in case of mass refugees’ influx.

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