Rwanda Police to Lead Campaign in Getting Vendors Off the Streets

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Rwanda National Police (RNP) shall lead operations of moving vendors off the streets of City of Kigali (CoK). The decision was arrived at in an executive meeting that was held early this week that aimed at enforcing laws aligned toward public safety and lawful business.

In July this year, city officials issued stringent regulations that were meant to curb street vending. Among these regulations was a directive to fine street vendors and buyers Rwf10, 000 each.

The vendors, locally known as “Abazunguzayi” were ordered to relocate to established markets with officials citing insecurity, poor sanitation, accidents, being some of the problems caused street vending. Vendors however, have been reluctant to leave the streets.

Since then, the call on vendors to leave the street seems to have fallen on deaf ears because street vending is still on the go and vendors are found all around the city, selling clothes, fruits and vegetables, among other products.

Vendors have since showed no readiness to adopt the directives and some of them have vowed that they will not stop the practice.  In fact, they have been violent against law enforcers who try to get them off the streets.

A fortnight ago saw a bitter feud pitting law enforcers and vendors at Nyabugogo bus terminal when a mob of vendors turned violent against law enforcers and wounded some of them.

This has since resulted to calling for a complete end to street vendors and in a meeting that brought together local government officials together with representatives of security organs, yesterday. The meeting was informed that Rwanda National Police shall leads the operation that will see street vendors moved from streets.

Following the meeting, the City of Kigali Mayor Pascal Nyamurinda, flanked by District Mayors and RNP Spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Theos Badege addressed a press conference where they laid out the measures to be taken to end street vending.

“We have decided to put an end to street vending and end it now. I insist, street vending has affected our security and the hygiene of our city. The level of indiscipline involved is equally intolerable.  Street vending end now,” said Nyamurinda in what seemed like the final warning to street vendors.

RNP will also base of the 2015 resolutions of the City of Kigali Advisory Council in its new operation that will see all vendors moved to the already established markets.

Previously, street vendors were handled by DASSO or Irondo agents who couldn’t get the notorious vendors off the streets but the magnitude of the problem has led to police’s intervention to ensure that the concerns related to vending are put to an end completely.

In his address to the press, ACP Badege said; “Majority of the street vendors are youth and women who belong to a prime cluster with several economic empowerment programme.”

“There are markets that were constructed in all corners of the city for those who were on the street…those who went to the markets were also given several incentives. Government have several women and youth financial empowerment schemes and has also prioritized job creation for youth under the National Employment Programme (NEP), basically there is in no justification for someone to be a street vendor yet there are other means to earn a living,” he said.

“It’s up this background that Rwanda National Police is coming in to enforce laws related to public safety and put an end to this behavior of undermining authorities. Our operations have already started; our officers are already on ground,” ACP Badege announced.

According to the City of Kigali, so far there 14 markets constructed in different parts of the city that are meant to accommodate former street vendors.

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