Dar Es Salaam
The government of Tanzania has refuted claims that refugees are being evacuated from Katumba, Mishamo and Rubumu refugee camps to pave a way for an American firm to cultivate the land.
As witnessed by this reporter, the Minister for Home Affairs, Shamsi Vuai Nahodha was reacting to a supplementary question asked by Kigoma North MP, Kabwe Zitto yesterday, who wanted the minister to assure the nation whether decision to take refugees who had been given citizenship to other regions had no intention of vacating the land occupied by the camps, for the purpose of giving it to a foreign investor.
Nahodha said, “This information we are getting from honorable Zitto, is very new to me. It is not true that we decided to distribute these refugees in different regions to give those camps to a foreign investor. The initial government’s plan after giving citizenship to 162,156 refugees from Burundi was to take them to other regions. “We believed that these refugees love Tanzania and Tanzanians. This is why we decided that we will distribute them to various regions,” he said.
Simanjiro MP, Christopher Ole Sendeka, was practically bitter with the government’s decision to choose Simanjiro as one of the regions where some of these refugees will be sent, saying that this community was not ready to surrender their grazing land for refugees who are mainly farmers. “ What did the government consider when it was choosing areas like Simanjiro which occasionally experiences drought and farming activities are practically not viable? Does it mean that you will give them cattle when they arrive at Simanjiro?
Nahodha said the government had thought of consulting communities who are expected to receive these refugees, to discuss with them pertinent issues that will lead to peaceful living and mutual understanding between them. The process according to the Minister has not yet started.