Police clarify delays in issuance of driver’s licence

Driving licence seekers during a past provisional test at Amahoro Stadium. File.

There have been complaints from several Rwandans who have sat and passed definitive driving tests, but have not yet obtained their driver’s permits since the year began.

One of them is Ronald Gato who sat for the definitive driving test in March this year from Ngoma District in Eastern Province.

“When the exam results came out in July, I had passed. I went directly to pay for the permit. I was told to wait for around 14 days,” he said.

Gato said he has since visited police offices for over three times and on each occasion was told to go back and return later.

“The last time I went there, which is this month, they told me that the permits would be issued between January and February next year,” he noted, highlighting that the police did not explain the reasons for the delays.

Emmanuel Kwitonda also sat for the definitive driving test in March in Rwamagana District.

“I sat my driving test in March and when results were released, I tried to check my marks online via Irembo, but it kept failing until I decided to go to the traffic police at Muhima. Around August, they helped me get my results and I was told to wait for two weeks to get my permit. It’s already nearly four months now,” he said.

Kwitonda says delays in securing a driver’s licence have affected plans to start his personal business.

Rwanda National Police (RNP) admits that some people who passed the tests have not obtained their licences yet, saying that this is due to a number of challenges resulting from the transition from the previous system they were using to a new advanced digital system.

The Spokesperson for Traffic Police Department, Senior Superintendent of Police Jean Marie Vianney Ndushabandi, said police is migrating to the new computer-based system, a process that has also been affected by network and system failures.

“For instance, a person would apply for renewal and a completely different licence would be issued, another would apply for an additional (driving) category, and an already existing one would disappear from his permit. In the process of addressing this, sometimes it was hard to trace the location of the owner’s permit,” he explained.

This, he added, created a scenario where demand from people who sit for exams every month increased and police faced a lot of pressure to serve who comes first. However, he said the issuance of driver’s permits has not stopped.

“Our aim really is to make it easier for people to get the services, whereby people will be able to sit for exams without travelling from their homes or offices,” he added.

Ndushabandi highlighted that most of the system failures and challenges could be addressed before the end of the year.