President Paul Kagame yesterday tasked top government officials to swiftly initiate measures to end a seemingly growing trend of trafficking in young Rwandan girls and the increasing level of road accidents.
The Head of State alerted the officials to both challenges in a brief speech shortly after he officiated the swearing-in ceremony for officials who were not present during the July swearing-in ceremony for ministers appointed in the recent cabinet reshuffle.
“Can we afford to keep quiet in the face of human trafficking? People are not commercial goods. Ending trafficking of girls goes beyond law enforcement authorities; it is the responsibility of every citizen,” Kagame said.
Rwanda National Police (RNP) says that 13 cases of human trafficking were registered over the last five years since 2008, with some of them involving human smugglers who use Rwanda as a transit way for victims heading to other countries.
Rescued from slavery
The Director of Interpol in Rwanda National Police, Chief Supt. Jean Nepo Mbonyumuvunyi, had said in an earlier interview that several victims of human trafficking, all girls who include four Rwandans, were rescued in the last two years in partnership with Uganda Police.
The United Nations estimates that some 2.5 million people, including children who fall into the hands of traffickers, are trapped in modern-day slavery around the world, both in their own countries and abroad.
Pointing to another challenge facing Rwanda, the President called on government officials to devise measures against the increasing level of road accidents in the country, explaining that Rwanda can’t afford to keep losing human life in instances of careless driving.
“Car accidents have become too rampant. We can’t continue to lose people one weekend after another. The life of every individual is too valuable to be lost in accidents (that) we have seen over the last weeks,” Kagame said.
The government recently announced plans increase penalties for traffic offenders—up to Rwf 150,000 in certain cases—after the past two months were particularly marked by road accidents.
“We have to come up with realistic measures to prevent this scourge of road accidents. The number of people who have fallen victims to road accidents is unacceptable and we need to put an end to it,” Kagame said.
Ministers take oath
The 10 government officials sworn in at Parliament yesterday include four ministers; Oda Gasinzigwa (Gender and Family Promotion), Joseph Habineza (Sports and Culture), James Kabarebe (Defence), and Jean Philbert Nsengimana (Youth and ICT).
Ministers of State Eugène-Richard Gasana (Rwanda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and State Minister in Charge of Cooperation) and Albert Nsengiyumva (State Minister for Technical Vocational Education and Training) were also sworn in.
Other officials who took oaths are the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Juvenal Mbarizamunda, and legislators Jacqueline Muhongayire (Senator), Giovanni Bushishi (MP), and Pélagie Mukantaganzwa (MP).
President Kagame thanked the leaders for their contribution to the country.
“Let’s continue working together to build our country,” Kagame said.