GICUMBI - There was commotion at Byumba market, last Saturday morning, after local leaders barred traders who had not paid their contribution to Umurenge SACCO and the 9- year Basic Education programme from accessing the market.
Some traders who attempted to force their way into the market were resisted by local leaders with the help of local defence personnel.
The decision however, sparked a lot of criticism from the traders.
Talking to The New Times, various traders complained bitterly, saying the decision was ill-conceived.
“I have come all the way from Kisaro Sector in Rulindo District to sell my tomatoes. Local leaders in Gicumbi District have no right to demand from me Umurenge SACCO and education funds which I have already paid at my sector level because I keep the receipts at home,” said one trader who gave her name only as Mukamusinga.
Other traders said the development funds should be collected at Mudugudu level because not all residents supposed to pay the funds are traders.
A Catholic nun responsible for procuring foodstuffs for students of Byumba’s Groupe Scolaire Notre Dame du Bon Conseil, was also among those who remained stranded in her vehicle at the market gates.
“I have to buy tomatoes, fruits, onions and green vegetables for students’ lunch, yet these people have denied me entry,” she lamented.
The Executive Secretary of Gacurabwenge Cell, Elie Nzabarinda said the decision was not abrupt as residents had already been warned of the deadline for payment.
“Sector authorities have already communicated in writing to all sector residents above 18 years to pay Rwf1000 for 9- year Basic Education program and another Rwf1000 for the Umurenge SACCO not later than October, 15 2009,” he said.
He explained that the decision to bar defaulters from entering the market was a temporary measure to awaken traders on the importance of paying the funds, in order to speed up development.
When contacted, the Byumba Sector Executive Secretary, Jean Marie Vianey Gahano, said the local leaders were enforcing decision from the sector.
“Those who have not paid the money by the set deadline will have to pay double fee, as it is indicated in the letter addressed to all residents above 18 years of age,” said Gahano.
He explained that the collection will continue at Mudugudu level, adding that Byumba Sector Umurenge SACCO’s target was to raise a minimum Rwf5 million before starting residents’ Savings and Credit Bank.
“This is part of government’s programme to eradicate poverty among residents and increase the number of school classrooms,” he added.