Tricky Burundi refugees irk PM

THE Prime Minister, Mr Kassim Majaliwa, has issued a stern warning to former Burundi refugees who have officially been given Tanzania citizenship to refrain from illegally welcoming and accommodating Burundians who have not been naturalised to live in Katumba and Mishamo refugee settlements.

He has also ordered all Burundians who have illegally entered and stayed in both Katumba and Mishamo refugees settlements in Mpanda District and the newly-formed Tanganyika District to return to their country of origin before the special operation to flush them out starts.

Similarly, the Premier directed the Katavi Regional Defense and Security Committee, led by its chairman, retired Major General Raphael Muhuga, who is the Katavi Regional Commissioner, to routinely inspect the situation at Katumba and Mishamo refugee settlements to uncover Burundi nationals who have been living illegally in the settlements.

Mr Majaliwa has urged former Burundian refugees who have been naturalized and officially become Tanzanians to be vigilant to prevent weapons from neighbouring countries proliferating in their camps.

The Premier issued the directives on Saturday on the first day of his four-day working tour of Katavi Region shortly after Major General Muhuga had read the regional development report, which touched on the defence and security issues in the region, including procedures for naturalisation of the Burundian refugees.

“Some of the newly-naturalised Tanzanians (formerly Burundi refugees) have contested for civil leadership elections and subsequently won the posts. I warn them to refrain from abusing the power of their offices by illegally receiving Burundi citizens,’’ Mr Majaliwa cautioned.

He warned them never to abuse their offices by going back to Burundi and return with more nationals and accommodating them in the camps without following proper legal procedures.

‘’We will not hesitate to take punitive measures against them… the Regional Defence and Security Committee should go to the camps and alert them over my directives before they go to other villages,“ reacted the PM.

In the same vein, Mr Majaliwa asked religious leaders to inculcate into the hearts and minds of their followers the importance of maintaining peace as well as abiding by the country’s laws.

He underscored the importance of strengthening defence and security at all borders to prevent noncitizens from entering the country and cause overpopulation.

The prime minister further raised the red flag over unnecessary levies slapped on small-scale farmers when they carry various agricultural products from their farms. “It is very unbecoming to tax a farmer carrying a sack of cereals from his or her farm,’’ he observed.

Mr Majaliwa directed the municipal council officials to tax businesspeople with huge capital and lay their hands off small-scale farmers, saying that by doing so, they were disappointing farmers who were likely to give up their agricultural activities.

In a welcoming note, the RC briefed the PM that according to the census conducted in 2007, about 160,000 refugees from neighbouring Burundi in Katuma and Mishamo refugee settlements had applied for naturalization.

The RC said some of those refugees who did get naturalisation returned to their country of origin voluntarily.

Meanwhile, Mr Majaliwa has declared that the government will not entertain any request for food relief from any district that will fail to produce sufficient food.

The Premier announced the decision in Mpanda Town when addressing public servants, religious leaders as well as leaders from various institutions gathered at the Mpanda State Lodge.

Mr Majaliwa directed all district commissioners (DCs) to ensure that there is a bumper production of staple food in their respective areas, arguing that every district must have effective plans to produce surplus food.

A cross-section of the people interviewed by the ‘Daily News’ in different occasions was of the opinion that the region has a lot of fertile areas but they were not exhaustively used for food production.

The RC said the region was set to examine the regional plans to increase food production as there was plenty of fertile land and water.

The Premier is today expected to visit the Mpanda District Hospital, which is currently serving as regional hospital before proceeding to Katumba refugees settlement in Mpanda District where he will hold a public rally before addressing another meeting at Azimio Grounds in Mpanda Town.

Tricky Burundi refugees irk PM Tricky Burundi refugees irk PM  Reviewed by on 11:06:00 PM Rating: 5

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