Caveat Venditor

A common complaint of expats here is that Rwanda, in contrast to other African countries, has no cheap, delicious street food.  The reason is because the government forbids street vendors. Here's a New Times article from today on the subject

Following the directives from Kigali City Council (KCC) to get rid of all street vendors operating within the city, penalties for those who will be caught in the act have been made public, The New Times has established.

In an interview, Bruno Rangira, the KCC Director of Media and Communication, said that those caught in the act will on top of seizing their merchandise, be fined Rwf 10,000 [~$20].

Goods seized from the vendors are given to different orphanages in the city.

Why the beat down on the beleaguered burghers?

“These are the people who cause commotion and poor hygiene in the city,” he said.

He added that some of the vendors indulge in pick pocketing, snatching ladies’ bags and stealing phones around town.

Of course, the "Three C's" of good governance: Commotion Prevention, Cleanliness, and Crime Stoppage. Of these, the only one that has any smell of legitimacy amongst all the African odors is the last.  But does the fact that some vendors engage in petty crime necessitate a ban of their hitherto legal profession?

Here's a story of firefighter who stole over $150; here's another one of a police detective who pilfered $8,000 worth of confiscated drug money. Guess we better get rid of the police and fire departments.

One suspects the "Three C's" are ex post rationalizations for a policy based primarily on the personal preferences of people in power (isn't alliteration fun--er, alluring!).