Passengers traveling through Kigali’s main Bus Park-Nyabugogo now have all reasons to feel safe, thanks to the Youth cooperative that has established mechanisms maintain the security of passage luggage.
Nyabugogo Taxi Park is Rwanda’s biggest parking lot that accommodates various transport agencies, services, and business operation from both local and regional transport companies that service the wide market and business operations in the heart of Kigali
Before the establishment of the youth cooperative comprised of luggage carriers, passengers coming into and going through Kigali, through Nyabugogo Taxi Park; suffered the victimization of thieves who mainly targeted the passage baggage.
After its establishment in 2010, one of the strategies of Abadasingana youth cooperative, was to have all the luggage carriers uniformed, numbered and organized in their way of soliciting for small tip out of the services they provide.
One of the members, Claude Niyonshuti, 23, who is also a former street kid, says that the cooperative activities have not only benefited the passengers but also changed his life as a vulnerable person.
“I have been carrying luggage from an early age as a way of surviving on the streets, however before the formation of the cooperative, we used to have a bad image among passengers-who thought that we are all thieves” he narrates
Adding that: “this image has changed and we try to ensure that no one blackmails our profession, which has earned me a living and enabled me to get off the streets”
Most passengers also believe that the security in Nyabugogo taxi park has relatively improved in comparison to the past years; however some passengers claim that the evening hours and late night, are very unpredictable in terms of security.
During day time we find it easy and secure but we have heard of some cases and report of conmen who trick passengers at night, and in some cases phones and luggage is lost in the process” one passenger Alice Uwimana says.
Besides the youth organization which has tried to clean their bad reputation, Nyabugogo Bus Park has other security organs operating with the park that is visibly congested from 5am to about 6pm on week days.
This has also been accompanied police and local defense officers patrolling the parking lot areas, but it is also evident that the numbers of officers is outnumbered by the numbers of passengers and tracking activity in this area maybe very challenging.
The taxi park management has also set up a communication service, where passengers who have lost their property or identification can make public announcement through the day.
Rwanda has been ranked top of the list of African countries where citizens are least likely to feel safe according to a research report conducted and released by Gallup on October 31, 2012.
Rwanda scored 92% followed by Georgia 91%, and Qatar 91%, while in Africa Niger was the second ranked country at 84 per cent.