Some taxi-moto operators defy lockdown directives

A group of taxi-motos at a parking lot in Kimironko, Gasabo District. / Photo: Dan Nsengiyumva.

Days after the Government declared a partial lockdown allowing only essential services to remain operational, it is still evident that a few suspended activities in Kigali continue to operate.

According to a mini survey carried out by The New Times, some businesses, mainly in the travel industry have ignored the government’s directive to halt operations in order to curb the spread of coronavirus.

 

For instance, some cyclists and motorcycle taxi operators in some parts of Kicukiro District were seen carrying out their normal business.

 

Olivier Mfuranzima, the Executive Secretary of Rubilizi Cell, Kanombe Sector, in Kicukiro District, told this reporter that; “We have observed that both cyclists and some taxi-moto operators are not heeding governments’ directives.”

 

He added that since March 23, authorities in the area have confiscated over 50 bicycles in an effort to enforce the lockdown.

With some people and businesses defying the lockdown, Rwanda National Police Spokesperson, CP John Bosco Kabera, moved to remind the public to respect the guidelines aimed to fight the spread of coronavirus.

Rwanda has so far reported 36 cases of COVID-19.

According to Tony Kuramba, the Director of Transport at Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authorities (RURA) warned that motorcycle taxi operators who breach the lockdown will be penalised.

The culprits, he added, risk hefty fines, confiscation of their motorbikes as well as a possible revocation of their license.

There are 36,926 registered taxi moto operators in the country with 22,200 of them operating from Kigali.

Evariste Murazimana, a taxi-moto operator in Gasabo District said that while life is not easy for them during this period, there’s a need to look at the big picture and respect the guidelines.

“I heard that in some countries like Italy it is even worse. Therefore, for us to avoid such situations, I think it is important to observe what health experts are advising now” Murazimana highlighted.

For Niyonkuru Cretien, a cyclist and a resident of Kicukiro District, the only way the situation will get better is if all the concerned people observe the safety guidelines issued.

“If we keep on refusing to observe these advises, the situation is likely to get worse, raising the possibility to extend the lockdown” Niyonkuru said.

eashimwe@newtimesrwanda.com

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