RUBAVU — Residents of Gisenyi town have criticised the district’s decision to reallocate Nyakabungo market to Mbugangali.
Speaking to The New Times recently, a fraction of residents and traders said Mbugangali is a distant place for them and less strategic compared to the old market premises.
The complaints follow a recent order by the Rubavu district Vice Mayor in charge of economic development Evariste Bizimama to forcefully evict traders in the former Nyakabungo market.
“The vice mayor is sending us to a distant place which is almost 1.5kilometers from the town. How do they expect us to go to such a distant market for food? That means one will need to hire a motorcycle every time he/she wants to buy anything from the market,” said one resident identified as Joyce Uwimana.
She said regular visits to the market will be a burden since Gisenyi town has no public town service taxis commonly known as Twegerane “ We only use motorcycles which are expensive, the district authority should convince taxi owners to ply the road to the new market to facilitate cheaper movements of the market goers,” she said.
Hamis Tubanambazi a trader in the former Nyakabungo market said the move would affect their profits. He says that the distance will discourage many potential customers especially those from the neighboring Birere cell in DRC‘s town of Goma.
“This place was strategically positioned not only to residents in Gisenyi town but also some parts of Goma. The vice mayor has pushed us very far from our customers which will greatly affect our incomes. I think the vice mayor took a very bad decision,” explained Tubanambazi.
He said that Congolese nationals in Birere cell have been regular customers because it was closer to them compared to markets in Goma. And shifting the market, he said, would lead their customers to look for other markets nearer to them.
The new market is situated very far from the Rwanda-Congo border. Contacted for a comment, Bizimana said that the decision was taken by the district meant to create order in Gisenyi town.
“This wasn’t my personal decision. It was passed by the district council. The district used a lot of money to construct Mbugangali market which is also much better compared to that one of Nyakabungo. Although the former was strategically positioned it was very poorly constructed with flimsy structures. We hope the move will help to improve hygiene and order in Gisenyi town,” he explained.
Asked what would be carried out in the old market, the vice mayor said the district was still considering what would occupy the yet to be vacated place. He however suggested the place would in the meantime act as a lorry and heavy tracks park. However, motorcyclists have welcomed the new move, saying it will increase their earnings.
“The market is far. By all means people will need us. They will need motorcycles to go shopping which will greatly increase our earnings,” said Amuzah Murekezi one of the town motorists.