There is a sense of serenity in the Central Business District (CBD) ever since the car-free policy was put into effect. Now Kigali can boast that it has its own Square, where people can mill around with no care.
As would be expected whenever new ideas or policies are introduced, not everyone is supportive, but most of the time it is for selfish reasons.
Murmurs of disapproval are already being heard, especially from some business owners who claim that they might lose clients while others decry the fact that they might have to park far from their destinations.
Fear for change is a human trait, especially if one is venturing into the unknown. So, the carless CBD should be judged by its long term benefits and not the temporally glitch in lifestyle.
When the city centre was decongested of the rowdy public transport vehicles, there were loud complaints at first, but it was not long before the public welcomed the order that came with a saner and better organised system.
The same could be said when lower Kiyovu residents were relocated to Batsinda, roadside hawkers reassigned to proper modern markets and Gacinjiro artisans given a new address.
The fear of the unknown was conquered by the benefits of living in better planned neighbourhoods and shopping in cleaner, centralised markets.
While walking around hilly Kigali has health benefits, relaxation is also necessary. With the car-free zone now in place, city authorities should think of introducing benches and other public amenities to make our “City Square” more pedestrian friendly.
The city is on the move and people should be ready to move along.