President Uhuru Kenyatta has reaffirmed his commitment to oversee the closure of Dadaab Refugee Camp despite international pressure to rescind the decision.
He said at the weekend that the refugees would be sent back to their countries of origin because they had overstayed in the country.
Speaking at Garissa Primary School playground on Saturday in his final three-day official visit to north-eastern Region, the President said Kenyans had been generous in hosting the refugees for more than 23 years and that it was time to help them return to their homes.
He said that although Kenya recognised Somalia — where most refugees are from — as a friendly and cooperative country especially on security and business, it was time the refugees went back to their home country.
“As Kenyans we have decided that the visitors we have been hosting for more than 23 years have to be helped to return to their country where they can continue with their own lives,” said the President.
BROTHERS AND SISTERS
“We still recognise them as our brothers and sisters. We also recognise our neighbouring country and we will continue doing business with it,” he added.
The government recently announced plans to close down the biggest refugee camp citing national security.
It says it believes the April 2015 terror attack on Garissa University College in which 148 people died and the 2013 raid on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall which left 67 people dead were planned at the camps.
Political leaders from the region complained that many youths did not have identity cards and the President ordered Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery to look into the matter.
“When I’m told many youths don’t have IDs, it means we have denied them the right to get jobs, to travel and to do business. It is not a favour we are doing to them. It is a right for every Kenyan who is eligible to get it,” said President Kenyatta.
The President was accompanied by his deputy William Ruto, Cabinet secretaries Joseph Nkaissery (Interior) Eugene Wamalwa (Water) Adan Mohamed (Industrialisation) and other leaders.