Press Release on the Mayor of Goma DRC banning the circulation of Motorcycles from 6pm in order to reduce crimes: We reject that measure
Press Release on the deteriorating security in Goma, North Kivu the Democratic Republic of Congo: The interdiction of Motorcycle circulation at 6pm is not the solution and should be discouraged.
Target assassinations of people are more common, house break-in are regular at nights, grabbing of people’s phones at night are often reported every day, and gunshots are common in many places in Goma the Tourist Capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the majority of people living in suburbs are the most victims . Yet North Kivu is under the State of Emergency which was established in order to end insecurity remains at risk.
In an attempt to address the situation the Mayor of Goma has banned the circulation of Motorcycles in the evening from 6pm until morning, the measure was announced in a circular after the security meeting in Mugunga on Wednesday January 10th, 2024, this has been highly criticized by various social groups among them human rights organizations and youth organizations in Goma, highly criticized by the local population and has been rejected by Motorcycles associations who are the first target.
This measure is a problem because at 6pm everyone is coming back home and Goma is highly affected by transport so the only alternative to public transport is the Motorcycles, but also at night people need to move and the only option remains the Motorcycles. This measure is therefore considered as just pushing people to remain at home in the evening are reduces the freedom of people, it is also a political to divert the attention of the population from seeking better services from the security services which have duties to protect people and their property.
It is true that in most of the security incidents above described the perpetrators have used Motorcycles at least 80% of insecurity cases, however banning them is to the solution because at the same time, these Motorcycles employ a big number of young people. The question should be on how to regulate them which Authorities are not yet considering as priority yet that should be the point.
Looking at the insecurity incidents themselves, some appear like being politically motivated, sometimes aiming at opposing the change of some key political and administrative leaders, and sometimes aim at causing the failure of some political and administrative leaders in Goma in order to demand for their replacement.
Apart from the political motivated incidents, we also observe that other incidents are more conflicts of interests among people, mainly connected to money dealing among individuals who in the process do not respect the agreement they made. Sometime a person may give the money to another for a while in order to bring it back with interest, it may happen that the one who took the money does not want to bring it back with the interest and instead connives with those who have guns to kill the other person, sometimes it may be the who gave the money but the other person who took the money does not want to bring it back, therefore it ends up with shooting at each other.
Lastly we have observe family conflicts also over land and property where family members do decide to kill each other in order to own properties, on top of that we have so many young people who have no jobs and leaving in dire conditions especially at this moment where Goma is surrounded by many Internally Displaced Persons who have added more pressure to this city in terms of livelihood opportunities and access to services.
In order to cattle the situation, there is a need for multisectorial approach which brings on board all concerned parties.
Here are recommendations that we think should be put in place
To strengthen discipline, control and checking of all security officers,
To restore regulations and command to security officers and regulate their movements,
To put in place a proper control of guns and bullets in Goma,
To hold accountable security officers who violates measures put in place,
To invest more in intelligence in order to identify groups that work together with security officers,
To prioritize the transfer of security officers who have stayed for years and years in Goma,
To work closely with people in their communities in order to ensure that criminals are not released and to ensure that those who are suspected of crimes are held accountable,
To desist from releasing criminals in the pretext of lack of evidence and lack of witnesses,
The Mayor of Goma
To ensure that every Motorcycle is fully registered and clearly identified,
To organize all Motorcycle riders in groups in order to ensure that they can easily report suspected cases of criminals,
To ban the circulation of Motorcycles without the plate-numbers,
To deploy security services in the whole town during these suspected hours especially the patrol Police from 4pm to 11pm,
To strengthen collaboration between the security services and the local population,
To improve collaboration with all the courts systems in order to support the efforts to reduce crimes,
To remove as quickly as possible that measure of restricting the circulation of Motorcycles and instead put in place other measures that promote the free movement of people in Goma, including free movement at night,
As network we remain vigilant and available to support youth initiatives that aim at challenging such measure taken by the Mayor of Goma. We are aware that some youth groups are considering the option of demonstrations if the Mayor does not remove such arrangement and we remain available to be with them in the claim of their rights.
Kulihoshi Musikami Pecos