KARONGI — People traveling to Rubavu and Rusizi districts will no longer scamper for the few taxis from Kibuye.
John Baptist Rugigana, the chairman of Cotrak Water Transport Co-operative has announced a comprehensive plan to provide more boats to transport travelers through Lake Kivu. This was during a bonding fete organized for members yesterday at Mahoro Island.
He said this was part of their mega plan to improve service delivery and improve the image of the cooperative this year.
"We should have a good network with Rubavu and Rusizi districts," Rugigana said. All boat owners would not be allowed to carry people without life jackets as a measure to prevent accidents. Rugigana said punitive measures await those who will breach the directive.
The cooperative would also embark on teaching boat drivers international languages including English, French, and Swahili in order to simplify the communication with all categories of passengers. "Most of the passengers we get are whites who want to know place by place yet the boat drivers are not well versed with their languages," he said.
According to officials of the cooperative, the language training has only been derailed by lack of training premises. But the district has promised a plot of land for them to build permanent structures to accommodate school and office premises.
The school will also teach professional boat riding. Those who will pass out would stage competitions as a way of helping them master what they will have learnt.
Cotrak has also extended loans to members to invest in other income generating activities. "Loans have helped almost all of us in this co-operative," said Kairanga one of the members. All members are well versed with swimming and also have been taught how to handle strong winds.
"This has helped us save our lives as well as passengers’ lives," said another man who gave his name as Mushoneri. Mushoneri explained he is capable of resisting any kind of wind using any kind of boat. The co-operative members boasted of helping the district grow through taxes and receiving district tourists.
"In order to achieve our goals as Cotrak, we should be disciplined and redeem the name of Lake Kivu," Rugigana told the members. He observed that Lake Kivu has previously facilitated criminals escaping to DR Congo and urged members to be vigilant especially on boats moving at night.