Burundi refugees are here to stay


Burundian refugees receive ration at Mahama refugee centre in Kirehe District. / File


RE: “Rwanda has "special" reasons to play good host to refugees – Minister Mukantabana” (The New Times, June 18).

Minister Mukantabana's words on why we Rwandans should welcome those who flee their own countries because of well-founded fear of persecution or worse certainly resonate with me.

But what happened with the senior officials of the governments of all those good and great western countries who wanted to use the fact of our hosting so many refugees from Burundi as a club to hit us with their allegations that we were training and arming those refugees to destabilise the defacto government in Bujumbura? Weren't those people supposed to take those refugees off our hands so that there would be no pool of disaffected Burundians on our territory to train and arm? How come those great and mighty have maintained a completely studious silence since Kigali threw down the gauntlet?

Apart from those people's hypocritical noise, I believe we will need to prepare to host refugees from our neighbour south of the Akanyaru for at least a generation. That is how long I envisage a new crop of Burundian leaders will need to develop to resolve their deep-seated social divides.

The kind of problem (President Pierre) Nkurunziza – and his cronies – is not the type that gets resolved within a few years, especially when the so-called international community jumps into the mix with each of its members attempting to shape the ongoing tragedy as a weapon in their geopolitical wars.

And, I get the feeling that few, if any, of today's Burundi opposition politicians get this fact.

Mwene Kalinda