The fight against gender based violence and preventing road traffic accidents took centre stage in community discussions shortly after the monthly communal exercise – Umuganda – conducted this Saturday in all the 2148 cells across the country.
The discussions aimed at raising awareness to fight violence that women and girls face, and to teach people how safe to use roads.
This came at a time when the country and Rwanda National Police (RNP) in particular, is actively engaged in countrywide activities to bring everyone on board to end violence against women and girls and ensure individual responsibility in respecting and enforcing road safety standards.
The month-long road safety drive launched a fortnight ago under the theme “Know and Respect Traffic Rules to Save Lives” with focus on all groups of road users including pedestrians, the majority victims of road accidents, passengers, drivers, motorcyclists and cyclists.
Rwanda National Police, which held an all-out sensitization on streets and highways across the country on Wednesday, giving road users road safety tips, also distributed flyers with safety messages, which were read out to communities in all sites across the country, where Umuganda was conducted.
Equally, Rwanda joined the rest of the world on Friday to hold 16 Days of Activism to raise awareness to end violence against women, girls and children.
While speaking to about 5000 people in Kamonyi District, where Police also joined the residents in Umuganda in Nyarubaka Sector, the Minister of Finance Amb Claver Gatete reminded them to take control of their lives while using the road by paying maximum vigilance.
“You have a lead duty to ensure that accidents don’t happen. You are the ones, who use the roads either in vehicles or walking, and you are the majority victims. Don’t allow to be transported like luggage. If the driver or motorcyclist is moving recklessly, your life comes first, so call the police,” Minister Gatete told residents.
He also appealed to them to be vigilant while crossing or using the road, adding that “even a pedestrian has a duty to call the Police and report over speeding or any nature of reckless use of road that can cost lives.”
While lauding Police for its effort in human security activities including lighting communities with solar energy, the minister also reminded the residents that their safety comes first, and that they should use such opportunities to engage in development activities but also be custodians of safety by reporting wrongdoers including those who violate the rights of women, girls and children.
Nyagihamba in Kamonyi is one of the villages that RNP connected with solar energy. Police has so far connected about 3500 households with solar energy across the country.
The Governor of the Southern Province, Marie Rose Mureshyankwano also reminded the residents to protect women and children by reporting abusers to police.
Meanwhile, RNP honored its pledge to Iryamukuru, a musical group in Kamonyi, with a uniform, as gesture for their community policing partnership with the police to raise awareness against crime through their music.
The band uniform worth over Rwf400, 000 was pledged during the Police Week in June.
Commissioner of Police (CP) Emmanuel Butera, who handed over the clothes on behalf of RNP, commended the role of the public in fighting and preventing crimes, and urged them to enhance this partnership and report anything unlawful including drug dealers, GBV, corruption, and child abuse among others.