8 February 2018

Tanzania: Refugees With Criminal Conduct Not Welcome

editorial

THE National Assembly has been told that the State considers tightening security at all refugee camps in the country. This is in response to increasing threats posed by refugees who attempt to escape from the camps.

Nyarugusu refugee camp is a case in point. It has come to light that some refugees enter the country as illegal immigrants often using unlawful entry points. Many remain in hideouts for years. These, the National Assembly has been told, will be sought, apprehended and herded into established refugee camps. What the refugees (legal or illegal) do not appear to know is that their presence in the country pushes Tanzanian financial resources to alarming proportions. Nevertheless, the nation is compelled to take pity on these needy, homeless souls.

It is on record that Tanzania has done almost what other countries have never done in helping refugees who seek protection from persecution and violence in their countries. However, some refugees are not aware of the weight of the burden this nation is shouldering. At independence Tanzania received its first group of refugees from Rwanda, who were running away from persecution and terror.

Another group arrived in the 1970s from Burundi, escaping state-inspired violence. More refugees followed in subsequent years from Rwanda, DR Congo, Burundi and Somalia following massive violence in their countries. They were all received, protected and offered social services at a cost none of them bothered to comprehend.

A significant number of old case refugees from Rwanda, Burundi and Somalia were later naturalized to become Tanzanian citizens. It is also evident that Tanzania has on numerous occasions paid a price for hosting refugees. Some refugees became a source of instability in their host localities and environmental degradation. In yesteryears, some refugees had to be flushed out after outliving their welcome or for causing mayhem in Tanzanian villages.

Much as Tanzania is praised for its generosity and spirit of humanity, we should not forget that it cannot sustain endless influx of refugees who put a strain on resources. The international community and other stakeholders in the situation should be aware of this. It should be the responsibility of everybody to ensure that the problem of refugees is solved by avoiding situations that generate them.

Wars and other forms of violence are responsible for generating refugees and they should be avoided at any cost. It is imperative to mention here that some refugees are actually illegal immigrants looking for economic prosperity. These are a smarting pain in the neck in this country.

The nation is downright tired about their escapades. Too many of them are already in our jails swelling the number of prisoners and exploiting our resources. Indeed, illegal aliens must stay away.

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