By Felix Andrew
TANZANIAN government has issued a seven-day ultimatum to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) ensuring all refugees at Nduta camp who voluntarily decided to return to their home, they do so.
Minister for Home Affairs, Mwigulu Nchemba said there are more than 8,000 refugees who had volunteered to return to their homes mostly in Rwanda and Burundi, but have not gone.
UNHCR should make sure that all refugees who voluntarily want to leave Tanzania to their origin countries they all go within seven days from now,” he said when speaking to the refugees at Nduta Camp in Kibondo district, Kigoma region.
In July this year President John Magufuli, called refugees from Burundi who are camping in Kigoma to voluntarily go back home to rebuild their country’s economy as kindly asked to do so by his Burundian counterpart Pierre Nkurunziza.
The two Presidents Magufuli and Nkurunziza had a light moment together in the land of Tanzania whereby Nkurunziza got opportunity to speak to refugees through residents of Ngara district in Kagera region.
“Burundi like other countries needs to build its economy, your President has pleaded you to go back in Burundi to build your country,” said Magufuli.
He pointed an accusation finger to the organizations dealing with refugees for using them as ‘capital’ for getting funds from donors. Wanted them to stop telling refugees that no calmness in Burundi and telling them the truth instead.
For over half a century, Tanzania has been a country of asylum, hosting one of the largest refugee populations in Africa. Currently there are at least 247,000 refugees from different countries including Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi.
In a May report, the UNHCR expressed concern over the unstable situation in Burundi, where there has been unrest since 2015, when Nkurunziza announced he would change the constitution to seek a third term in office.