While over the past months the police have done a good job in checking taxi-motors to ensure they are in order with their papers, the sight that greeted the citizens of Kigali this Friday was something different. In various places in the capital, scores of motorcycles were grounded, and some of the drivers sat in the back of police vehicles, ready to be taken away.
According to one traffic police officer stationed near the industrial zone in Gikondo, the crackdown comes in the context of KCC's directive for all taxi-motorcyclists to be registered before the end of the year, but which has been ignored by many of them. "We don't have all the necessary papers," admitted one driver, looking forlornly at his confiscated motor in Gikondo.
Some of his colleagues tried to evade the police, and those were the ones ending up in the police vehicles. "They have this attitude of escaping traffic police when they think that they don't have the documents to show," the officer in Gikondo said, without specifying where they would be taken, although various sources suggested it would probably be Gikondo transit center ('Kwa Kabuga').
On Christmas Day, the Rwanda National Police (RNP) issued a call for road safety concern during the festive season. According the police, three road accidents occurred countrywide last weekend with one person reported dead while others survived with major injuries. In Gakenke district, a Coaster Bus collided with a lorry, leaving four people injured, while in Rulindo a pedestrian was killed by a speeding car. The third accident happened in Rwamagana, where a car hit a 17-year-old cyclist, who was seriously wounded.
According to the Traffic Police Commissioner, chief superintendent Felix Rutagerura Bahizi, during Christmas and end of year festivities accidents tend to rise. "We are calling once again on the public to celebrate their festive season but also drink responsibly, avoid driving under influence, and avoid speeding, careless maneuvers and recklessness on the road," he said."We urge road users to drive safely and abide by traffic rules during the festive season so as to avoid road accidents."
According to Northern Province police spokesperson, superintendent Francis Gahima, in order to minimize the accidents that usually occur on the Kigali-Musanze highway during the festive season, many traffic police officers have been deployed to help handle the expected road risks and to continue sensitizing the public about traffic rules and regulations.