Motorbikes, a field for policemen to reap?

Motorcyclists in Bujumbura city demands the government to increase the working time and make regulations over policemen who consider motorbikes as a field to reap from.-By J.Berchmans Siboniyo

A group of motorcyclists at their parking “We kneel down for the addition of work time” ©Iwacu

A group of motorcyclists at their parking “We kneel down for the addition of work time” ©Iwacu

It is on Friday 25th, at 6 pm and some minutes at ‘ Gare du nord’ in Kamenge Commune. The police are catching motorcyclists who are still working. Some of the motorcyclists try to escape, but in vain. The police are very vigilant. During the operation one policeman is injured. Many motorbikes are being loaded into the police lorries and taken to the Road Security Police Station (PSR). The following scene? The owners of the motorbikes pay some fines and take them back.
Iwacu has approached different motorcyclists for reactions. The results? Many revelations. “Our hearts are about exploding. We do wonder whether we have Burundian citizenship. We do not understand the raison d’être of the law and required official documents”, indicates Bosco Ntahizaniye, a motorcyclist met at ‘St. Michel’ Parking. Dieudonné Niyonkuru, a motorcyclist too compares his motorbike with a potatoes’ field for the policemen reap from. According to him, the road code is the verbal pretext to back the policemen’s exactions or abuses. Vianney sinzinkayo states that they were happy when they were allowed to work until 8pm. “we did not know how things changed. We were communicated to only work until 6pm. It was a bad news. But still we comply with the regulation”, he adds.
Peter Nzeyimana, a chief of ‘St. Michel’ parking asks the government to add some hours to allow them to work until later. He demands the Road Security Police to do its job and make sure that no other individuals are disguising into the road policemen. “We are even afraid that one day we will be stolen our motorbikes. Any policeman either he is in the pub or wearing civil uniform, he seizes motorbikes provided that he has a job badge. But how if they are thieves? And when our motorbikes are seized, the process of paying some fines delays whereas we live on them. We kneel down for the addition of working time”, he adds.

The police react

Arthémon Nzitabakuze, the Commander of Road Security Police indicates that they keep on seizing all motorbikes which are not in law. “This is one of everyday’s jobs. The policemen who help in this job have their identity. They have badges. It is the responsibility of the motorcyclists to ask the policeman who seizes his bike where he works and accompany him as far as the police station”.
Concerning the delay of fine-paying process, Mr. Nzitabakuze indicates that it happens for motorbikes which are always in infraction in order to have enough time to advise their owners. He goes on giving answer to the addition of work time. He says: “we understand their petition. But they should first comply with the law into force up to now. They have their associations. They should sit together and write a letter to the government. We will protect them. We are there to stand for the law in force”.