100-year–old Kigali should stay the course

A capital city is usually considered the face of a country and Kigali has really lived up to the expectations.

A capital city is usually considered the face of a country and Kigali has really lived up to the expectations.

The city is celebrating 100 years of existence this whole year. The major landmarks that one can easily notice in Kigali are the MTN roundabout that has a huge statue of a Rwandan woman holding the hand of a small child and surrounded by well attended gardens plus a magnificent fountain.

Then there is the city centre roundabout adjacent to the newly built Union Trade Centre. This place has got the most captivating fountain in the country. 

For a first time visitor especially from another African country, the first impression about Kigali is that it is quite ‘unAfrican’.

In contrast to most African cities, Kigali is extremely clean and well attended to. It exudes a great air of social discipline and order.

The palm tree-lined roads are well maintained with paved walkways as well as functioning streetlights and sewage systems.

The road users especially the motorists are some of the most disciplined you can ever come across.

Driving in their lanes and observing traffic signs. The same can be said of the motorcyclists.

All this discipline is largely a result of having a non-corrupt and professional metropolitan police.

The monthly communal cleaning exercises (Umuganda) have greatly contributed to the clean image of not just the city but even the other parts of Rwanda.

The city experienced tough times during the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. However Kigali has awoken as a symbol of order, steady growth and development.

Nice structures are coming up each day while old ones are getting facelifts to keep pace with modern times.

Wonderful housing estates have replaced what was formerly bush land or shanty housing thus reducing the problem of accommodation in the city.

Public transport has improved a lot with introduction of buses and minibuses and the rearrangement of the taxi routes after the Nyarugenge taxi park was closed. The planting of grass and trees along most roads shows that Kigali is set for more beauty as years go by.

City authorities should however not be complacent after these major successes.

I therefore urge them to stay the course by making Kigali city’s beauty, order and success a sustainable project.

The major ills of modern urbanisation ought to be kept at bay.

These include, over crowding, pollution, strain on sewage systems and of course traffic jams.

The area near Rubangura’s building is currently a very crowded and chaotic scene especially during the rush hours when everyone is trying to get transport back home.

People have to fight to enter the buses causing a stampede that aids thieves to snatch phones and other belongings from unsuspecting people.

The elderly get my utmost pity during such moments. 

This place also has hundreds of hawkers who when not selling numerous merchandise are always running from law enforcement authorities.

This puts other innocent road users at great risk as the escaping hawkers often bump into them.

These people should be given a designated place where they can trade from or removed from the streets completely. 

The decision to replace small commuter taxis with buses is really a brilliant idea. 

Modern city planners now agree that traffic congestion is best dealt with by creating an efficient public transport system as this reduces the desire for everyone to own a car.

Traffic congestion is now common at Nyabugogo where the short roads are served by hundreds of cars from the taxi park and the four fuel stations surrounding the taxi park.

Nyabugogo is also known for a chronic drainage problem during the rainy season.

The recent rains saw both the inside and outside of the taxi park heavily flooded.

The area where Kinamba – Kacyiru – Kimironko taxis park was practically filled with mud and impassable for pedestrians.

The Umuganda exercise in the area should focus on clearing the drainage channels.

With sustained proper planning, development and management, Kigali city steadily became of the best cities not just in Africa but in the world as well.

No wonder ORTN felt it necessary to have the city as one of its tourist packages and started the now famous Kigali City Tour. 

Kigali is now a city celebrating one hundred years of excellence and moving towards centuries and centuries of beauty, order and development.

Kigali can be unreservedly said to be on the right track and therefore should stay the course of prosperity.

Kigali City Council should keep up the good work because the city is now a reference point of urban excellence in Africa.

All residents of this great city also need to continue keeping it tidy and beautiful.

ssenyonga@gmail.com

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