President suspends bicycle taxi ban
Bujumbura - Burundi's president on Tuesday suspended a
controversial ban on bicycle taxis less than 24 hours after his
transport minister sparked a public uproar by ordering them off the
Bicycle taxis have long been a critical component of transport in the impoverished central African nation that is still emerging from a nearly 12 year civil war that has claimed some 300,000 lives.
In an interview with state radio Ndikumugongo acknowledged the decision was controversial said it was necessary to reduce accidents, many of them fatal, caused by bicycle taxis which often weave perilously through motorized traffic.
"We know the measure is unpopular but we had to choose for the good of the greatest number," he said.
The move had immediately been denounced as unfair and discriminatory to Burundi's 100 000 bicycle taxi drivers, who earn between 2 000 and 3 000 Burundi francs (about R12) a day and must support their families on that meager income.
He said the step would likely create more problems than it would solve by taking away the only chance for many young Burundians to earn a wage.
"For these people, the bicycle is their only livelihood, they thus will not continue and that just will increase the number of corrupt civil servants," he Rufyiri said.
"But mostly, we fear the reaction of these young men who will have no hope," he said. "The situation could degenerate."
Published on the Web by IOL on 2005-04-26 16:13:27
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