The government of Tanzania has expressed displeasure with allegations made against it by Uganda on their handling of refugees from neighboring countries.
Tanzania Internal Affairs Minister George Simbachawene said his country took exception with the accusations and demanded to be treated with respect.
Uganda’s Minister for Relief and Disarster Preparedness Hon Musa Ecweru accused Tanzania of chasing a number of refugees and forcing them to enter Uganda.
Minister Ecweru while addressing press in Kampala, said scores of refugees had been compelled by Tanzanian authorities to leave their territory and enter Uganda.
Most of these he said were refugees from Rwanda and Burundi.
“We have now taken them to Nakivale settlement camp. This is a huge challenge to the people running the camp. Tanzania knows that we are have not been taking in refugees since the Covid19 lockdown,” Ecweru said.
“The question we have is, if they (refugees) were trouble, why didn’t they take them back to their countries of origin instead of sending them to us?”
However, while responding to these claims, Tanzania’s Minister Simbachawene said his country was “disappointed” by the Ugandan Minister.
“Tanzania had vast experience in hosting and protecting refugees. We have not engaged in any operation at the border that involves chasing refugees into Uganda,” he said.
“So, when these claims came up we engaged our people at the border and then we wondered where my Ugandan colleague got this information from.”
The Tanzanian Minister said his country had over the years hosted refugees from different countries including Ugandans and that they deserved to be treated with respect.
“I thought that may be he could have reached out to us first to discuss this, rather that going to these big media houses.
“As you have heard, the President of Burundi has referred to us as “parents.” We therefore demand to be accorded the respect that we deserve.”