The Rwanda National Police will, with effect from today, take over the operation against Kigali street vending.
The announcement was made yesterday in a news conference bringing together mayors of the City of Kigali districts and the National Police at the City Hall, as a new measure put in place to deal with that kind of business.
Addressing members of the media, the Mayor of the City of Kigali, Pascal Nyamulinda, said that no more leniency would be extended to hawkers and all stakeholders had come together to enforce the law banning them from the streets.
“There are laws and they must be respected. We have been patient but this did not bring us any positive results. We have been working with DASSO security personnel and the process has not been going so well, so we are going to use whatever security organisation necessary to fix this. If you see the involvement of the police, don’t be surprised,” he said.
On Tuesday, The New Times reported a story in which city street vendors claimed that DASSO personnel were confiscating clothes and other products from them only to use them and not declare them to authorities as expected.
DASSO is a grassroots-based security organ under the structures of the Local Government ministry.
But Nyamulinda rejected the claims.
“We throw away the perishables like vegetables and fruits but the rest of the stuff is kept in stores in different districts where it’s kept till we decide where it will go. Our biggest store is in Mageragere where there is even an inventory,” he said.
DASSO out, Police in
The Police Spokesman Theos Badege said that the police comes in to enforce the law.
“You will see more Police personnel and more equipment to make law-enforcement easier like cars to transport the confiscated merchandise and those that have been arrested in the act. We want people to know that they are not above the law,” he said.
Who can be arrested?
According to the law, anyone caught in the illegal act of selling goods on the streets will be fined Rwf10, 000 and asked to return the money to the person buying. Similarly, the person buying will be reprimanded and fined Rwf10, 000 for buying goods in areas not designated as markets.
The president of the Trade Union of Independent Informal Economy Workers (SYTRIECI), Jeannette Nyiramashengeso told The New Times in a phone interview that the issue of hawkers has been under negotiation for a long time and blamed poverty and mindset as the main reason why it has been hard to deal with.
“It is a constant struggle to make vendors understand some of these things but if you add poverty in the equation, then everything becomes even much more complicated. The stalls are there but they are of no use to someone who is selling five mangoes. As an association, we continue to offer advice and advocate and negotiate a long-term solutions,” she said.