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 The decentralized debate of “Urubuga rw'Itangazamakuru”  (Club de la Presse) of Sunday 17st  jully 2022 broadcasted in synergy by twelve radios  stations from all regions of the country and 2TV stations took place in Rubavu district, Bugeshi sector. 

A month before the talk show, September 22, 2021, three Rwandans( two men and a woman) had been shot dead when they were trying to illegally  cross  the border with goods from DRC

The citizens who participated in the debate were residents from BUGESHI, BUSASAMANA and MUDENDE sectors. The leaders on the panel explained that the Rwanda-Congo border in Bugeshi Sector is the most widely used border by Bugeshi, Kamana and Mudende sectors residents near the border but many were using illegal routes to smuggle goods.

The citizens argued that the reason they use illegal routes to DRC is that the requirements for crossing the border are expensive, so some agree to risk their lives instead of starving.

Nzabonimpa Alexis resident of Bugeshi  sector, Heru cell  says that after the  debate all has changed.

“A week after the  talk,  local  authorities organized awareness sessions to inform the traders and citizens in general how cross-border trade will take place from now on. Vegetable and fruit traders  have come together in cooperatives called INYENYERI to combine efforts and sell their production legally” He says

The sector administration helped  the traders’ cooperative to get goods transport facility so that  cooperative members may take care  of  their families without necessarily  risking their lives

“We received the financial support of 9,000,000 Rwandan francs so that all former Bacoracoras (smugglers) could initiate income-generating activities and with this money  we rented a vehicle  that we use to carry  goods to DRC DRC.” Says Mugabukuze Boniface

“ we earn money through our cooperative and share the profit.” adds Mugabukuze Boniface.

Niteka Jocelyne regrets the death of three people who lost their lives in this illegal trade when they were confused into  criminals from the DRC. She currently salutes the awareness made through Urubuga rw’Itangazmakuru debate  and the new structure of cross border trade.

“Previously when we went to the DRC illegally, sometimes we were imprisoned in a dungeon in Munzenze in the DRC but now we go there with authorization, no need of being afraid.” She says

Sebanyaga Theoneste, a resident of the kabumba cell, who was a mucoracora  salutes the results of the debate and efforts of the sector administration to solve raised issues.

 “I was used to selling products that I received from Uganda and selling them in the DRC illegally. I had already lost 3,500,000 frw in the illegal trade but  today I gave up  as the sector administration  gave me a cow and pigs; I am well without any problems”.   He concludes.

 “After the debate,the Executive secretary of the Bugenshi sector organized a meeting of the cell heads who subsequently sensitized the inhabitants at the cell level and the sensitization continued during the evening meetings known as AKAGOROBA K’ABABYEYI. The message content was to tell  citizens about the  reviews  cross-border  guidelines and   establishment of cooperatives”

All local residents of Bugeshi and neighboring sectors  are happy  that there are  no other cross border death cases after the talk show.

They are really  satisfied by the new positioning of cross-border trade, bringing together sellers of vegetables and fruits in a cooperative for a good coordination of the transport of products.

 Today people  do not need to be Bacoracora because they legally we manage to have money to take care of their families.

 Yet,   the problem that  remains unsolved is the residence permit required by  the other side ( RDC)   which is very  expensive for small traders.  Their wish is to be facilitated to  crossing into the neighbouring country using temporary passes that are given to them upon presenting a national ID.