Close to 500 commercial motorcyclists operating in Muhanga District along with members of Rwanda Youth Volunteers in Community Policing (RYVCP) and district administrative organ (DASSO) personnel joined Rwanda National Police (RNP) on January 26 in clearing shrubs and bushes in a two-hectare forest as part of environmental protection.
The forest is among the 400 hectares of trees planted by RNP in different parts of the country.
Following a three-hour community work, participants engaged in community policing discussions that aimed at both promoting road safety and crime prevention.
The District Community Liaison Officer (DCLO) of Muhanga, Inspector of Police (IP) Claver Kayihura, commended the existing partnership with all the groups in detecting, preventing and fighting crimes through information sharing.
He, however, called for strong collaboration to narrow the gaps that criminals like drug traffickers use in their illegal business, sometimes facilitated by motorcyclists, an act he urged them to give emphasis to fight it.
He reminded motorcyclists of their duty to ensure safer roads.
“Remember, you are putting your life in danger whenever you attempt to ride under the influence of alcohol…worse still when you are carrying someone with you,” the DCLO said.
Kayihura gave an example of a recent incident where a drunken motorcyclist ran off the road, hit a tree dying instantly.
“This is an accident that was avoidable if the motorcyclist had avoided alcohol or riding under the influence...”
The DCLO also appealed to them to ensure their motorcycles are insured and wear helmets on at all times.
Speaking about environmental protection, Kayihura reminded them it is a responsibility of every Rwandan to protect the environment.
“Let’s ensure our neighbourhoods are not littered with dirt and also ensure hygiene as part of security precaution,” he said.
In line with community policing and environmental protection, motorists formed two clubs; environmental protection and anti-narcotics clubs.
Meanwhile, Jerome Nsabimana, the head of motorcyclists’ cooperatives in the Southern region, who was also part of the exercise, disclosed that they have suspended all commercial motorcycle security personnel in Muhanga for varied unprofessional and malpractices until a new well trained and disciplined team is put in place.
“In the meantime, we will bring other security personnel from neighboring districts to take over temporarily,” Nsabimana said.
This was after the motorcyclists raised concerns over their security personnel that abuse their profession and sometimes assume responsibilities of the police.