No Security for cars parked in Bujumbura town

Car owners living in Bujumbura Capital complain that they encounter serious problems to park their cars safely because they are often stolen.-By Lorraine Josiane Manishatse

Cars in paid-parking space at “Palais des Arts. ©Iwacu

Cars in paid-parking space at “Palais des Arts. ©Iwacu

“We have a huge problem of parking our cars. One day, I had an appointment with a friend; we had to share coffee in a restaurant, then I parked my car near Idéal Shop, when I came back, I realized that thieves had stolen 600$ I left in my car. Surprisingly enough, I had paid 500BIF to someone to look after it” states Didace Mugabo, a young Rwandan met downtown. For MN, she prefers to give 1000BIF at “Palais des Arts” paid- parking, because cars are in security. “Before I begin to park my car here, I used to give money to street children so that they could look after it. One day, they lied to me that the place was suitable to park, when I came back policemen fined me because I made a bad parking,” she points out. However, she mentions that many people are stolen their cars’ parts, money or other belongings left in the cars because there is no road security; the government should ensure it as soon as possible. In spite of this, the car paid-parking Manager at “Palais des Arts” assures that cars are well- kept there.
“Before receiving the car, we first verify the state of that car because if it is damaged we have to pay. Also, in order to avoid cases of car theft, the car should be taken back by the same person who has parked it” explains the Manager. Cases of misunderstanding may sometimes occur between the Manager and the car owners. There are some people who send other persons to take their cars, if they don’t allow them to get the vehicles, some sorts of quarrels often happen. “Our daily job comes across dangerous problems; there are many gangsters in that town. It is difficult to know if someone has really been sent by the car owner or if he is a thief because robbers in this town use a lot of puzzling strategies,” he highlights.

The Bujumbura City Council point of view

According to Alain Nijimbere, Head Officer of Planning and Management of Parking Space in Bujumbura Capital, there isn’t any paid- parking space now. All the areas were abolished two years ago because we found that cars were not kept safely. “The project of paid-parking was not studied carefully. Car owners used to pay money to park their cars and they were often stolen. The only paid-parking recognized officially is that of “Palais des Arts”. Other people who ask car owners money for parking are not officially known and authorized by the City Council,” he mentions.
For him, they have to collaborate with the Ministry of Transport and Security to study the feasibility of regulating car parking security.
He promises that in the near future, they are going to re-indicate more clearly road signs and signposts in order to facilitate circulation in the town.
“For the moment, we can’t promise to ensure security for parking areas , but we are working on it,” concludes Nijimbere.