The streets comprise of long rows, with poorly spaced commercial houses. Outside people sit, buried in conversation, others with heads facing up as if sun bathing on benches in front of shops and saloons, depicting boredom in an endless wait for customers.
A walk onto the streets provides a closer interaction with the inhabitants. They are taking chances at doing business, driven by the forces of ‘put bread on the table’.
But I also notice that they are involved in almost the same businesses. Peering in some of the commercial buildings lined up on the streets I find that commonly are clothes, shoes or people shaving in a saloon.
Another interesting business is a wooden board used to charge phones. It is fixed with numerous sockets where phone chargers are slotted. This seems the easiest business to do.
A lady who prefers anonymity is one of the owners of Best saloon and an extension of a phone charging gadget which she has operated for two years.
Asking her about the security in the area, she immediately tells me of two occasions that thieves have successfully stolen handsets.
“Last month they stole a phone and this month they stole another,” she says.
It is true that along booming trade in Nyamirambo runs wide spread insecurity due to rampant theft and abuse of drugs.
Talking to a resident, traffic policeman who refused to disclose his name revealed that most of the thieves are jobless youth who are desperately looking for ways to survive and usually do nocturnal activity.
“Many houses are filled with children. Some come from villages. They surface at night and start stealing,” he explains.
Getting deeper behind the streets is when the picture gets clearer. There are more poorly dressed people more specifically youth.
During the day some of these children can be noticed scattered far behind the main streets, in slum like places dressed in dirty-tattered clothes. They are seated idly leaning on walls.
Their sunken eyes and dry lips portray deeply embedded hunger as they wait for any cushy job or chance to grasp ends meat.
Sadi Haragirimana, 20, still stays home with his mother. He has been jobless for four years. And his survival methods have been selling scrap metal that he says is inadequate.
“I earn close to Rwf20, 000 every month but it is just for getting what to eat,” he says flashing a Chinese made phone.
He confirms the wide spread theft and use of drugs.
“If you come here during late evenings there are usually pungent smells of drugs, floating in the air. You even see guys walking freely, smoking weed. There is also prostitution,” he said.
Some of Haragirimana’s youth friends convert to theft and misuse of drugs so as to quench their needs including sexual urge. Some cohabit with age mates yet they are unable to sufficiently fend for them, which adds to poverty hence crime increase.
“Amongst my numerous friends, only five remain unmarried. The others married at an early age,” he says.
However, Abdul Hagenimana in charge of security in Gabiro, a cell in Nyamirambo defends that the crime rate has been largely quelled.
“For two years we have fought crime and as of today it is very low. We have deployed security men and positioned them in the cell and now it is not a problem,” he says.
Contrary to Hagenimana, the 16 year old Abudulham Wizeyimana who lives in the same cell witnesses that theft is still uncontrolled,recently,there was theft at his home when clothes left out to dry were taken off the line.
“A thief came and took three bed sheets and three trousers from the line last December,” he says.
Yahaya Mutabazi, 29, seated in his shop where he repairs hardware owes the theft in Nyamirambo to poverty levels that have escalated.
He discloses that it is mostly the youth that resorted to petty stealing and taking drugs which he mentioned as marijuana and ‘a tablet which turns the tongue blue. Mutabazi also reports a dire lack of jobs.
According to last year’s police report on crime country wide, Kimisagara sector from where most of the cases were said to have been committed is adjacent to Nyamirambo sector. Located in Kigali City, Kimisagara was ranked one of the most insecure areas.
The city registered 175 cases.
The proximity to Kimisagara raises Nyamirambo’s insecurity levels.
Eric Kayiranga, the police spokesperson said that the proximity of Kimisagara to Nayamirambo could be an increased insecurity threat.
“People easily move from Kimisagara to Nyamirambo and others work there,” he says.