By Farayi Machamire
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday urged Rwandan refugees to return home to vote in presidential elections this week.
Mnangagwa re-affirmed the United Nations’ call to repatriate Rwandese who fled to Zimbabwe, saying the troubled nation was now “safe”.
Rwanda has made a dramatic economic recovery in the two decades since 800 000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were butchered by Hutu extremists.
“Let me take this opportunity to inform you that, as government we are proceeding with implementation of the Rwandan Cessation Clause,” Mnangagwa said, referring to a repatriation strategy for Rwandan refugees who fled their country between 1959 and 1998 to escape inter-ethnic violence and armed conflict.
“To that end, I urge all Rwandans affected by the Cessation Clause to make plans to return to Rwanda and contribute in building of their nation. We as government together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), will ensure smooth closure to the cases by December 31, 2017.
“As a sovereign state, we will continue to use our influence within Sadc and the AU to lobby for peaceful conflict resolution and work towards initiatives which guarantee peace and political stability.”
However, many of the Rwandans who continue to live in Zimbabwe remain unwilling to repatriate, citing fear of persecution by the government. Refugee rights organisations have also warned that human rights abuses by the current government have caused a continued exodus of Rwandan asylum seekers. Daily News