RUBAVU - Rubavu District authorities have warned hawkers to vacate or face serious action after the grace period extended to them expired.
Rubavu is one of the busiest towns given the 24 hour operations along the Rwanda- Democratic Republic of Congo border. Previous efforts to get rid of street vendors have been futile.
“They were never allowed on the streets in the first place and we have been lenient with them but now we are employing local defense forces personnel to confiscate their goods,” said Christian Dukuze, the Executive Secretary of Gisenyi Sector.
Dukuze also said that not only do hawkers make the town dirty but they also cheat the government since they do not pay taxes like other traders.
The vendors sell various commodities ranging from tomatoes, avocadoes, pineapples, shoes, clothes, charcoal among others.
However, vendors accuse local authorities of harassment further accusing the authorities of denying them opportunities to earn what they termed as legitimate livelihoods.
“I don’t have enough capital to enable me to establish a formal vending operation and I have children to fend for. So, I don’t know what I will do when I’m forced off the streets,” said Antoinette Ayinkamiye, who sells avocadoes and passion fruits.
The mother of four says that her capital is equivalent to Rwf5 ,000 and it requires a lot more than that to have a stall in any of the three markets in Rubavu.
The Executive Secretary, however, urged vendors to form cooperatives to boost their capital and income.
“If they don’t have money to join formal trade, we can make arrangements for them to form cooperatives so that they can be assisted but it is very critical for them to vacate the streets,” Dukuze observed.