The Rwandese community has vowed not to obtain their nationality passports for fear of being sent back home, says community representative Dr. Frodouald Ntezimana.
In an interview with the Daily Nation, Dr. Ntezimana said refugees feared that once they obtained passports, they would be traced by intelligence officers from their country and later be killed because there was allegedly no justice and freedom of speech in Rwanda.
Out of 3,000 Rwandese illegally living Zambia, only 39 people had applied for passports.
Dr. Ntezimana alleged that the Rwandese government had deployed some soldiers who were looking for suspected genocide culprits in exile and would be killed once found.
“We have been staying in Zambia for the past 20 years or so. Zambia is home for many refugees. We are only thanking the Zambian Government for having allowed us to stay in peace and harmony for all these years,’’ he said.
And Home Affairs Minister Davis Mwila pointed out that the refugees had not normalised their stay in Zambia despite being given a March 31 deadline.
The minister said since the deadline had already elapsed, Government would make a decision on the matter.
Mr. Mwila said the refugees had been tasked to present personal documents such as passports to facilitate processing of their residency or business permits.
He said his ministry would engage the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to consider repatriation or regularisation of stay for the thousands of Rwandese refugees in Zambia.
Over 3, 000 Rwandese refugees without legal documents were said to be staying in the country.