Rwanda National Police (RNP) has promised to lead operations to get vendors off the streets of Kigali. 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. It brought together local government officials together with representatives of security organs.
“We have decided to stop 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,” said Kigali Mayor Pascal Nyamurinda.
The police will use the 2015 resolutions of the City of Kigali Advisory Council for its new operation that will see all vendors moved to the already established markets.
Previously, street vendors were handled by DASSO or Irondo agents, but the magnitude of the problem has led to police’s intervention to ensure that the practice is put to an end completely.
“The majority of the street vendors are youth and women for whom there are several economic empowerment programmes,” said police spokesman Theos Badege. “Markets have been constructed in all corners of the city for street vendors, and those who went there were given several incentives. The government has prioritized job creation for youth under the National Employment Programme (NEP), so basically there is in no justification for someone to be a street vendor anymore.”
“It’s up this background that RNP will enforce laws related to public safety and put an end to this behaviour of ignoring authorities. Our operations have already started; our officers are already on ground,” Badege announced.
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 their customers Rwf 10,000 each. The vendors were ordered to relocate to established markets with officials citing insecurity, poor sanitation, and accidents among the nuisances caused by street vending. 14 markets were constructed in different parts of the city.
However, this has so far not has the desired result and street vending is still rampant. Worse, some vendors have been violent against law enforcers who try to get them off the streets. About two weeks ago at Nyabugogo bus terminal, a mob of vendors turned against law enforcers and wounded some of them.