Regional MPs want more time to compile report on Burundian refugees

Members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) who toured Rwanda and Tanzania in June to assess the status of Burundian refugees have requested for more time to compile their report.
Burundian refugees prepare a meal at Mahama Camp. (Timothy Kisambira)
Burundian refugees prepare a meal at Mahama Camp. (Timothy Kisambira)

Members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) who toured Rwanda and Tanzania in June to assess the status of Burundian refugees have requested for more time to compile their report.

“We were given sufficient time and we did our work, but we still need more time to finalise this report,” said MP Abdullah Mwinyi (Tanzania), who represented the two eight-member teams, one led by himself and another by MP Abubakar Zein (Kenya), told the House in Kampala on Wednesday.

Mwinyi was not particularly clear on how much more time they need but their report is now likely to be presented in October during EALA’s next sitting.

Mwinyi and Zein’s teams simultaneously visited Tanzania and Rwanda in June.

This was after the lawmakers initiated what was called a ‘goodwill mission’ by its Standing Committee on Regional Affairs and Conflict Resolution to visit the Burundian refugee camps in the two countries.

The visits were aimed at understanding the humanitarian situation on the ground and the arrangements in place to deal with the crisis.

Following the political and humanitarian crisis in the aftermath of street protests and attempted coup in Burundi, more than 200,000 Burundians fled the country to seek refuge in Rwanda, Tanzania and DR Congo.

Rwanda alone is home to more than 75, 000 Burundian refugees.

On Tuesday, Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza swore in a new cabinet following his re-election to a controversial third term.

Members of the ruling CNDD-FDD party were given 15 of the 20 positions, including the key posts of the ministries of defence, the interior, finance and foreign affairs.

Some prominent Burundians, including a former vice president and a former speaker of parliament, say they will not second Nkurunziza as president after his current term expires Wednesday (yesterday).

Nkurunziza won the July presidential election with 69 per cent of the vote, but the US and other countries have demanded the president begin a dialogue with opponents to keep the country stable.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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