The calm and cool breezes around the premature gardens, (which are adjust to the offices of Rwanda’s Prime minister) offer Josiane Mukarwego, 32, a serene place for prayer and meditation. She concentrates on reading the scripture under the natural shade of a big tree, within the gardens.
These all green gardens, are well located- far away from the public, a radius of about 200 yards make a perfect place for anyone who seeks to have alone time.
The gardens were built by the previous government -under the regime of Gregoire Kayibanda (that war before the 1994 Rwandan genocide), and it certainly seems the most convenient place for a prime minister’s office.
The prime land is located in Kimihurura sector, Gasabo district near to the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Defense, Rwanda Revenue Authority and Ministry of Foreign Affairs complex.
Though these gardens are surrounded by top government offices, which include the Premier’s and Ministry of Defense), they are open to the public and Mukarwego is one of the residents who enjoy the beauty and serenity of these public gardens.
“There is no noise and it is very natural. I feel connected with myself and I use the quite presence of nature to pray and reflect on life” she said, though she didn’t want her photo to be taken.
The Premature gardens are the perfect grounds for recreation parks, restaurant, and entertainment and have beautiful vegetation with fresh green mowed grass for relaxation and workouts.
For some year the Kigali City Council has been maintaining these grounds, and there are at least 30 workers who ensure the garden environment is clean and green for the public to have a descent atmosphere while they visit.
Jean Claude Twizeyimana, is one of the senior workers. He says that “though the grounds are clean and green, few people come to relax here and about five people come to sit and relax here in a day”
The beauty and gentle nature, sculpture works and potential of these grounds have not been fully exploited as it would be in the case of the US, UK, India, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia (just to mention but a few countries- where such parks would be filled with families, groups, and individuals having picnics, reunions, or just enjoying the beauty of mother nature.
Apparently, Kigali City council (KCC) authorities have now advertised the premature roundabout to be privatized into a recreational facility, as part of implementation of the Kigali City Master Plan. The city believes that these grounds have and are currently underutilized.
“The city wants the gardens to be turned into a modern recreational facility with entertainment spots and restaurants with an aim of creating a relaxing ambience for the residents and visitors of Kigali,” Bruno Rangira, the KCC public relations officer said “ “These ventures are supposed to be modern facilities that are in line with the city’s master plan”.
The privatization process is open to both local and foreign investors. Rangira said that the privatization will be based on the value of the land in Rwanda and the city will have to determine the rates after the primary bidding is done.
Prospective bidders will be given the zoning and urban guidelines, plot demarcations, road layout and aerial images and according the City Council, investors will work within set standards as stipulated by the master plan.
The bids containing development proposals will be opened on April 19, during which the best proposal will be considered.
The investors will be expected to develop a garden park restaurant, without destroying major features of the roundabout. “We expect the investor to keep the features of the park. Construction will take about 10 percent of the space,” Rangira said.
Some of the visible features in these gardens include: a pool, natural forest trees, flowers and shrubs- and artistic sculptures of elephants. It also has reading sites, cottages, and shelters in case it rains while you camp there.