Driving around Kigali a day after the 10th Extraordinary African Union Summit was a delight after a few days of traffic nightmares. Delegates from some of our East African neighbours saw nothing out of the ordinary with the monster jams because by their standards, Kigali’s temporary snarled up traffic was tame.
This time – unlike the previous AU Summit where the main artery from the Airport to Serena Hotel was permanently closed – there was some brief reprieve whenever the road was not being used by the delegates.
But the inconvenience, however short-lived, left us some lessons that Rwanda Transport Development Agency should take back to the drawing board. Kigali is growing fast so its infrastructure also has to move in tandem.
It is true that something is being done to widen and upgrade some of Kigali’s major roads, such as the 54.56km project that began early last year that is slated to be completed in September 2019.
Thankfully, there is no such thing as severe traffic jams at the moment, but we should not wait for it to hit us in the face before tackling it. It is time for authorities to begin toying with the idea of building flyovers so that someone driving from Kacyiru or Remera will not have to circumvent the whole of Kigali to reach Nyamirambo.
Countries learn from such brief discomforts that Kigalians endured in the last few days, even though it was for good cause, to better design smooth flow of traffic.
Implementing new strategies would be child’s play since Kigali motorists are somehow disciplined, tend to respect regulations and never show any sign of road rage even in the face of unfamiliar situations such as getting stuck in traffic for hours.