54 caught for flouting sports directives

On 28 January 2021 at 07:02

Rwanda National Police (RNP) has apprehended 54 people in City of Kigali, who flouted the directives to engage in public sports and physical activities.

They were arrested on different roads in Kigali on Tuesday evening where they were found jogging and in other sports activities, majority in groups.

This was to enforce the directives, which prohibits such public sports as they are deemed risky to spread the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Sports, on January 24, released a communique giving clear guidelines on sports activities in City of Kigali.

The communique reminded citizens of City of Kigali that sports activities are not permitted during lockdown period and encouraged Kigali residents to exercise from homes.

However, the Ministry permitted individual sports outside homes from 5am to 9am, but strictly within the limits of their respective villages of residence in compliance with the COVID-19 prevention measures.

"Group sports and exercise are strictly prohibited," concludes the guidelines.
Most of those arrested claimed ignorance of the directives.

Nshimiyimana Maurice (Maso) is one of the arrested violators, who were taken to Amahoro stadium and enlightened of the directives and other guidelines meant to contain the pandemic.

Nshimiyimana argued he was not aware that the directives prohibits evening sports activities in public places.

"I was jogging in the evening together with my colleagues but we were within the vicinity of our village. We did not know that evening sports are prohibited; we thought it was permitted to do sports activities either in the morning or evening," Nshimiyimana claimed.

He added: "Here at the stadium, we have been educated on different directives as well as health guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus. Police officers enlightened us on sports guidelines, now we know it is done from our homes but also within our villages between 5am and 9am, but as an individual not in groups."
Jacky Mbabazi was also arrested on the streets of Gasabo District, Remera Sector in Rukiri 1.

Like Nshimiyimana, Mbabazi claimed that she was not informed of the hours when sports activities outside homes are permitted.

RNP deputy spokesperson, Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Africa Sendahangarwa Apollo clarified that sports activities are not prohibited by must be done within the limits of the directives and in compliance with all measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

He reminded residents of Rwanda to always follow and understand the Cabinet directives as well as other guidelines issued by different institutions "for everyone’s safety from COVID-19."

"There should be no excuse that someone is not aware of certain directives. These are prevention and safety guidelines which are made public through many communication channels including through the media, whenever they are issued.

The guidelines on sports activities, particularly, were widely communicated and no one should at this level, be claiming ignorance; sports activities are done at home or individually within your village between 5am and 9am, contrary to that you will be flouting the directives and you will be arrested," CSP Africa said.

He reminded that safety should be everyone’s priority adding that as the country continues to counter the pandemic at the time when the number of infections continue to spike up as well as related deaths; it’s the time when everyone should be responsive and take appropriate decisions.