The ongoing operation against noise pollution and night disturbance is meant to enforce the law and to ensure that people’s businesses and beliefs are done in a way that doesn't affect other people but not to disrupt doing business, Rwanda National Police has said.
Police has in the past few weeks arrested leaders and owners of churches and bars, some entertainment spots closed temporarily and owners fined for the “noise nuisance” which it says is in contravention of article 600 of the penal code and articles 37 and 108 of the organic law on environment.
Article 37 gives authority to any competent institution to take a decision aimed at stopping any emission of noise that is harmful to health of biodiversity, disrupts the neighbourhood or damages property.
Article 108 also partly penalises anyone who “makes or facilitates in causing noise that may disturb road users and the neighbourhood” with a fine ranging from Rwf10, 000 to Rwf100, 000.
Under article 600, “any person found guilty of making noise and night disturbance in a way that causes trouble among people, shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of eight days to two months and a fine of Rwf50, 000 to Rwf1 million or one of these penalties.
The move to enforce the law followed series of meetings between churches leaders, owners of bars and night clubs where they were briefed on the modalities.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Damas Gatare, the Police spokesperson said some bars and restaurants have turned into night clubs illegally while some night clubs are yet to fulfill all requirements, including containing the sound of their music system.
“It is simple, if you have a licence to operate a bar or a restaurant, then lower the volume of your entertainment system; the problem is that some bars and restaurants have turned into night clubs illegally and have gone an extra mile of not containing the noise of their music system, which we cannot allow,” ACP Gatare said.
“Why should you complain if you are operating in such an illegal and nuisance manner,” he wondered adding “be it a bar or a night club, it has to comply with the law. Night clubs should install sound proofs.”
Reacting on the issue of affected churches, he explained that they were also briefed on the laws and urged to comply, including lowering or containing their sound.
“Church leaders understand this very well.”
It is also understood that churches have since committed to ensure self regulation to ensure that all holy places operate in accordance with the law.
Gatare said many businesses and churches have complied with the laws and advised the few remaining to follow suit instead of deviating public attention through media.