Blackbird

A second attempt with Blogger. (Now No Longer in Beta) Note: The contents of these pages are my own personal views and in no way represent the views of the agencies for which I volunteer or the countries in which they are based. Peace.


Burundi

I have become an online volunteer to www.nabuur.com and have signed up to help the village of Kamage in Burundi.

Background

Burundi plans massive refugee repatriation

2006-03-22 07:58:00
By Pacifique Nkeshimana

Burundi says it will complete the repatriation of all refugees still resident in Tanzania in three years’ time.

Burundian Minister for National Solidarity, Human Rights and Gender Fran�oise Ngendahayo told The Guardian in an exclusive interview in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the repatriation is in line with the government’s plan to ease the refugee burden that Tanzania has endured for nearly a decade as a result of the civil strife that engulfed the Great Lakes Region, Burundi included.

Ngendahayo was speaking on the sidelines of a tripartite meeting on Burundi refugees in Dar es Salaam involving the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and governments of Tanzania and Burundi.

’’Following the democratic elections and the restoration of peace in the country after a long civil strife, the government is planning to repatriate all the refugees in three years’ time,’’ she said.

Ngendahayo said that the country would collaborate with UNHCR, UNICEF, World Food Programme (WFP) and other international agencies to resettle the refugees in their motherland.

’’We need our people back home; the country is peaceful. There is a good government.

We thus need all the people to return home so that they, together with people who remained behind, reconstruct the country,’’ she said.

The minister said that in the past two years, a total of 102,416 refugees had voluntarily returned home.

However, she said, since the beginning of the year there has been a decline in the number of refugees returning because of food shortages caused by drought that has swept the country.

She said that thousands of famine stricken-people had crossed the border into Tanzania in search food in refugee camps.

Some of the refugees have been denied entry into Tanzania because of lack of genuine reasons for fleeing their country, Ngendahayo said.

UNHCR Country Representative Chrysantus Ache, told the meeting that Tanzania and UNHCR would facilitate a visit of the Burundi delegation to the refugee camp.

’’A cross border meeting is planned with all stakeholders - UNHCR, WFP, UNICEF, FAO, WHO, OCHA and implementing partners - for March 31, this year in Ruyigi Province in Burundi to look into the food situation,’’ Ache said.

He added that the refugee agency looks forward to working with the Tanzania and Burundi governments and UN agencies.

Ngendahayo said that she would also update refugees in Kibondo today on the current socio-economic and the political situation in Burundi.

’’I will tell them that the country is now peaceful and that the government needs them back home so that they can be assisted while there,’’ she said, and added that refugees constituted a major burden to Tanzania.

Speaking at the same meeting, Tanzania Minister for Home Affairs John Zephaniah Chiligati said the recent democratic elections in Burundi signified the progress to peace in the country.

’’The elections signified the fact that Burundi was now peaceful and democratically governed. The elections instilled confidence in Burundian refugees who have begun going back home,’’ Minister Chiligati said.

He added that in 2004/05, a record 144,732 refugees returned home, bringing the total to 214,181 returnees since the repatriation exercise started in 2002.

Chiligati said that Tanzania hosts nearly 400,000 Burundian refugees.

He said that there were some 200,000 ”forgotten” Burundi refugees of the 1970s living in settlements in Rukwa and Tabora regions.

’’The 1972 refugees have been forgotten and are referred to as the ’Old Case Load,’’ he said.

Chiligati said: ’’These are Burundian nationals living in Tanzania as refugees. They are self-sufficient in food, but need education, healthcare, water services and other basic needs, but UNHCR and the international community have abandoned them.

The burden had been left to the Tanzania government to carry.’’
Chiligati said the Tanzania government had repeatedly reminded UNHCR and the international community to provide humanitarian assistance pending their repatriation, to no avail.


Kikwete: Govt will improve investment climate

By Pastory Nguvu

The government has said it is committed to improving the investment environment for both domestic and foreign investors.

President Jakaya Kikwete gave the assurance in Dar es Salaam yesterday when he launched the Investment Blue Book for Tanzania.

The book comprises eight measures, actionable over a period of 12 months to move the country towards best practices in investment promotion and facilitation.

The President said the diagnosis of investment environment was in line with the Japanese government’s initiative, which started in 2003 to assist developing countries to undertake measures to attract investments.

’’I’m told that the Investment Blue Book targets countries that have not realised their full potential in attracting foreign investments.

I have studied the Eight Points Action Plan and noted that the underlying issues underscore the pertinent issues raised during the dinner that was hosted by the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation in February,’’ he said

He added that during the occasion, he assured the business community that his government would institute economic reforms in partnership with the private sector on challenges that affect investment in the country.

President Kikwete said the government was already addressing some of the concerns and recommendations.

’’For instance we have already established a Commercial Court, which was not in existence until a few years ago.

What needs to be done now is to develop a mechanism to fast track the adjudication of cases and disputes. This, we promise to continue doing,” he said.

In addition, he said, the government had enhanced transparency in tax administration. He said he concurred with the concerns raised in the Blue Book over the need to strengthen the monitoring system in tax collection and the collaboration between the private sector and the government.

However, the President pointed out that the country has critical needs in the area of infrastructure, including roads, electricity and transport and called upon the Japanese Bank for International Co-operation to support such projects.

Minister for Planing, Economy and Empowerment Dr Juma Ngasongwa, said the Blue Book spells out eight measures, which he said if implemented, would improve the investment climate in Tanzania.

’’The Blue Book has tried to identify Eight Point Action Plan and my ministry will provide the necessary support in implementing this action plan,’’ he said.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the Japanese Bank are behind the Blue Book for Tanzania.

  • SOURCE: Guardian

A few drumbeats later...

I made a donation to Friends Peace Teams African Great Lakes program.

Friends Peace Teams is a Spirit-led organization working around the world to develop long-term relationships with communities in conflict to create programs for peacebuilding, healing and reconciliation. FPT’s programs build on extensive Quaker experience combining practical and spiritual aspects of conflict resolution.

Friends Peace Teams (FPT) was founded in 1993 to promote spirit led peace team work among members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and other concerned individuals.

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