Car-free day: Should the CoK have consulted the people first?


People enjoy the car-free zone introduced last year in the city centre. Some people want the City of Kigali to consult more before implementing such policies. (T. Kisambira)


RE:Kigali introduces car-free day” (The New Times, May 25).

I am a dedicated long-distance walker and would certainly have no issue with this kind of initiative myself. But have the CoK (City of Kigali) authorities carried out any survey or consultations with businesses and residents of the concerned areas with a view to get their input into this decision and their views on how to minimise their inconvenience from an otherwise excellent idea?

Our City authorities need to learn not to simply impose unilateral measures that affect businesses and residents without considering their views on proposed initiatives and taking them (public views) on board as much as possible.

Mwene Kalinda


If such a decision was to be taken by some countries in the West, it would be done after several months of consultations among various stakeholders to minimise inconveniences. They would even have a pilot study period on which to base their decision.

Whereas the idea of encouraging people to be active is good, it should be suburb roads to be closed and not major roads leading to business centres. If CoK leadership really wants to encourage the City of Kigali dwellers to be active, it should start looking into ways of constructing paths for walking and cycling in the suburbs where people live.



So many Western cities, big and small, have car-free roads these days. And, they are awesome and super popular.

Great initiative by CoK. For only five hours, let adults and kids bring out their bikes and enjoy the beautiful streets of Kigali without fear. It pains to see young kids ride their bicycles in their small compounds. Let people take strolls on roads that are usually scary to even cross.

The amazing thing with Kigali is that there are multiple alternative routes for people who have things to do. I bet the environment is saying thank you to the City of Kigali for the few pollution-free hours. Jakarta does it every Sunday and the streets are swarmed by pedestrians—the view is like that of birds set free.

Stella Musoni


This is our way of conducting pilot tests. If people do not embrace the policy, it will be revised.

Most Rwandan policies are unprecedented, and a survey would be skewed. However, people’s reactions to such initiatives often inform policymaking. Today people seem to like the car-free zone, right?

The overall concept is: Green environment and healthy living. Policymakers take it from there. There is no short cut to fast tracking human development and modernity, especially in developing societies.