Burundian Political Analyst Innocent Karabagega has asked United Nations (UN) to ensure Burundian refugees access education and not just food.
He said that the UN should instead stop sending money to feed the refugees but use the huge money they to create education centers or help the refugees who were learning to join universities and colleges to empower them. Speaking to The Standard in Nairobi on Tuesday, Karabagega said food alone cannot help the refugees to be self-reliant in future but education will.
"The UN should ensure the refugees wherever they are,especially those young ones access education so that they can go back home educated and be useful people in the society when the country attains peace. This will prevent them from being thieves, beggars among other crimes,"said Karabagega.
He blamed the plans by Kenya to close refugee camps saying it is not the solution since many of them are running from their countries to seek safety. "It is in fact a threat to their lives. If someone is running from his/her country to look for safety and you chase him to go back,you will not be helping him," said Karabagega.
Kabaragega regretted that there are many Burundian refugees in Kenya, some living in the streets, who were pupils or students while in Burundi but due to war, many were converted into refugees and cannot afford education-which is the key to success.
He also called upon Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza to listen to people, end war and allow the healing of the nation. "The problem when you tell our president that what you are doing is wrong you become his enemy. President Nkurunziza should listen to the people, apologise and take the country to recovery both in peace and development," said Karabagega.
He called upon Burundian youths, some who are refugees not to lose hope and desire to have entrepreneurial skills wherever they are to be resourceful people in future.
Karabagega also urged those involved in peace talks to involve the real Burundians who have experienced the war since they know the pain of war and not elites from other countries.
According to United Nations High Commisioner for Refugees(UNCHR), by March 4, 2016, at least 250,473 refugees had fled to DR Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced run for third term.
- Innocent Karabagega,a political analyst and former Burundian refugee.