Nyabugogo hawkers resettled in Biryogo Market

Nyarugenge District has moved to facilitate hawkers formerly operating along a street commonly known as ‘Marathon’ in Nyabugogo with stalls in Biryogo Market.
Former hawkers celebrate getting stalls in Biryogo Market. The New Times/ Seraphine Habimana.
Former hawkers celebrate getting stalls in Biryogo Market. The New Times/ Seraphine Habimana.

Nyarugenge District has moved to facilitate hawkers formerly operating along a street commonly known as ‘Marathon’ in Nyabugogo with stalls in Biryogo Market.

District mayor Solange Mukasonga said the move would ensure security of the hawkers and help consolidate their dignity.

Addressing the more than 500 former hawkers who were given stalls, Mukasonga said it was a shame for these people to vend their merchandise on the street.

“Like it is a must for every Rwandan to have a decent place to stay, vendors should also have a permanent place to sell their goods. In this fast-growing city, we should not be allowing certain practices to prevail and hawking is one of them,” said the mayor.

She said they always sensitise street hawkers to strive to have a permanent address, which she said not only creates better environment for them, but is also good for business because they can build a customer base if they are in a permanent location.

“And there is no assurance of quality once you buy something from a hawker,” she said, adding that Rwandans should adapt to the culture of buying from markets.

Mukasonga said the district will continue helping the vendors and encourage them to operate in cooperatives which will help their businesses grow.

Chantal Uwamaliya, 25, has for years been a street hawker in Nyabugogo area. Her life was shrouded in misery, with endless running battles with the police. She only prayed to live through the day.

She is among the beneficiaries.

“I evaded arrest many times. Every morning, I would pray to God to protect me return alive to feed my three children,” Uwamariya, who survived on vending food stuff in a basket, said.

Harsh hawking

She said on many occasions, she was arrested and her goods confiscated, adding that hawking on the streets exposed her baby to various dangers as she always carried it on her back.

“There is nothing good on the street. We did it because life obliged us to, and not because we liked it and from the bottom of my heart I thank the government for this invaluable help,” she said.

However, Jeanne Murekatete, another former hawker, said there remained many difficulties, saying on the street, one was able to sell a lot of merchandise unlike in the market where you have to sit and wait for clients.

Murekatete said it will take them time to get regular customers, which is a challenge because they have responsibilities.

Mayor Mukasonga said the stalls will be used for six months tax-free.

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