19 November 2012

Rwanda: Homeland Security Updates - Police Stations, Motorbikes, and Hawkers

The Inspector General of the Rwanda National Police Emmanuel Gasana has said it's the mandate of police to feed suspects being held at the various stations countrywide. IGP Gasana made the remarks last week while briefing the press about homeland security.

"We have an annual budget for feeding prisoners. In the past, prisoners' relatives were allowed to bring food to the stations but now it's no longer the case," Gasana said, adding that the government decided to stop outsiders from bringing food to prisoners because this was causing some problems.

"Some of those bringing food would even poison the prisoners with whom they had issues. That process was stopped for of both prisoners' security and investigation's benefits," the IGP said.

According to the IGP, the issue of cleanliness at police stations was being resolved. "We have been receiving training from Red Cross agents about how police stations should be, in terms of hygiene, medical services and so on. We are improving it. We recognize that, though those people are under provisional arrest in our stations, they are Rwandans and have to be treated humanely."

Last year, over 10,000 cases were referred to courts from various police stations.

About Gikondo Transit Center, widely known as 'Kwa Kabuga,' the IGP said this is not a police station but rather a transit center where street children and hawkers are taken in order to select from them those fit to join Iwawa Vocational Training Center (Western province). "It's under the city's authority," he clarified.

He added that the police's continued hunt for street hawkers and control of taxi-moto riders especially in Kigali city is aimed at creating public order. "We do that in collaboration with the Kigali City Council. We chase them in order to maintain the city's cleanliness," IGP Gasana said.

"For the motorcyclists, they are stopped to find out whether they have required documents such as insurance, driving license and head covers but sometimes they decide to run. We will not allow this and therefore agreed to keep one's motor for a whole month," he said and advised motor owners to entrust their bikes with riders who have required documents.

Motorcyclists who talked to The Rwanda Focus agreed with the IGP, but said that sometimes so many things are introduced at once, which makes it hard to adopt them at once. But the police chief said that the law is not flexible. "Either you have it or not. There is no excuse for driving without a license and all the requirements. Violating traffic rules is against the law."

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