The parliamentary committee for foreign affairs and security has begun public hearings to analyse a petition filed by commercial motorcyclists over alleged mismanagement of their federation.
In June last year, members of Ferwacotamu, a federation of commercial motorcycle taxi operators commonly known as taxi-moto, petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, calling for a probe into their organisation.
The federation’s leadership, the operators allege, has grossly abused their organisation where lack of accountability and corruption has reigned for years.
The petition seen by The New Times was filed by one Godfrey Muhumuza on behalf of other operators. It says rampant corruption was partly responsible for road accidents, because unlicensed riders are allowed to operate.
This, the petition claims, has also been responsible for cases of robberies and other crimes committed by some unlicensed taxi-moto operators.
They also cite lack of coordination between leaders of cooperatives with Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA), Rwanda Utilities and Regulation Authority (RURA) and the City of Kigali.
In trying to authenticate the allegations, the parliamentary committee on Tuesday summoned various officials from both the public and private sectors to respond to queries raised in the petition before they table a final report to the plenary for consideration.
Some of the queries raised by the committee include how inspections are normally conducted and other checks and balances to ensure accountability.
“Much as Rwanda has won global acclaim for being clean and secure, order among the motorcyclists is paramount. These are the same people who transport tourists visiting the country,” said MP Fidele Rwigamba.
Appearing before the committee, officials from the City of Kigali council, RURA, RCA and heads of the motorists’ federation acknowledged irregularities and briefed lawmakers on the latest progress to have issues addressed.
The officials from Ferwacotamu revealed that although managerial issues have been prevalent for quite some time, the federation decided to suspend around 20 cooperatives over the irregularities.
“We are doing some cleanup and with the support of institutions like Rwanda Cooperative Agency some directives were issued and we are making sure they are observed,” said Celestin Ntaganzwa, head of the federation.
Ntaganzwa also informed lawmakers that there have been issues of conflict of interest between motorcycle owners, riders and leaders of cooperatives.
“For example, we have an organ in the city in charge of operations and security and we realised that these people could not arrest those riding their motorcycles even when they have erred,” he explained.
So far the federation counts around 25,000 members in the country of which 12,000 operate in Kigali.
Overall, the federation brings together 240 cooperatives.
Apollo Munanura, Director General of Rwanda Cooperative Agency, told lawmakers that part of the directives which were issued to address the problem answer the queries by the legislators.
“Although this sector is not easy to regulate the directives were to help cooperatives deal with management issues by ensuring efficiency and accountability,” he said.
Munanura explained that they compelled cooperatives to collect members’ contributions once a month and ensure that the fee is agreed upon by all members of the cooperatives.
They will be compelled to submit themselves to the cooperatives’ decision-making general assembly to avoid arbitrary decisions from the executive committees.
“Very often we established that the executives were wrong and that members had no say in decision making or even removing them. We asked them to all have a plan of action to which they will be held accountable by the general assembly,” he said.
Pascal Nyamurinda, the Mayor, City of Kigali and Emmanuel Asaba Katabarwa, in charge of transport at RURA emphasised that for cyclists to operate efficiently; there was need for partnership cutting across all stakeholders.
Other people from the Ministry of Justice and Rwanda National Police are also scheduled to appear before lawmakers.