Refugees must go home – President Uhuru Kenyatta
Refugees have to be repatriated back into their countries; this is according to President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Speaking in Garissa, President Kenyatta said Kenyans have been generous by hosting the refugees, whom he called visitors, for long time, adding that time has come time the government and the people of Kenya to help them return to their home country.
“If we were bad people as Kenyans, could we have invited them into the country? We still recognise our Somali neighbours as our friends, as people we can do business with, as people we can inter-marry with, as people we can associate with in all ways, but everybody with their country,” said President Kenyatta.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has said that genuine Kenyans whose fingerprints appear on the refugees database will soon be sorted out and issued with Kenyan Identification cards.
President Uhuru Kenyatta said leaders would work with local chiefs and elders together with national and county governments to thoroughly vet and help reconcile those Kenyans who entered into the refugee database because of famine.
Following complaints by political leaders from the region that many youths do not have identity cards, President Kenyatta ordered Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery to go back to Garissa and find an immediate solution to the lack of identity cards, saying its not a favour by the government but a right to every Kenyan.
On his part, Deputy President William Ruto urged the residents of North Eastern to maintain peace and work close with security officers for development to be realised.
The President and his Deputy were accompanied by his Cabinet Secretaries Joseph Nkaissery (interior) Eugene Wamalwa (water) Adan Mohamed (industrialization) Mps Aden Duale (Garissa township), Garissa Governor Nathif Jama, Elias Bare Shill (Fafi), Shukran Gure (Garissa woman Rep), Ibrahim Ahmed Abass (Ijara) and Ferdinand Waititu (Kabete) among others.
About two weeks ago, the government declared that it would no longer be hosting refugees in the interest of national security.
Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho said the move is part of measures the government is putting in place to restore security in the country due to the challenge posed by the Al Shabaab fighters.
Last week, the government restated its position that it will repatriate the more than 600,000 refugees living in the country’s camps by November this year.
Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery said the government has formed a task force to oversee the repatriation process, with the timetable to be released by the 31st of this month when it files its report.
Nkaissery said Dadaab and Kakuma Refugee Camps have become centers for poaching, human trafficking, illegal arms and where terror attacks are plotted, among other ills hence the decision.
Pressure has been mounting on Kenya to rescind its decision to close the Daadab and Kakuma refugee camps.
The United Nations refugee agency has previously called on Kenya to reconsider its plans to close the country’s two main refugee camps, saying the move would have “devastating consequences” for hundreds of thousands of people.
UNHCR said in a statement that it viewed the plans by Kenya’s government with “profound concern.”
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