THREATS GALORE

Closing Dadaab and Kakuma? State proves barking dogs seldom bite

In Summary
  • Picture this. You were born and raised in a certain place, and now you are 30. Then you are told that you need to go to your home
  • Which home will this adult of 30 years go to when he or she has never been there?
Kakuma refugee camp in northwestern Turkana county.
NO MORE REFUGE? Kakuma refugee camp in northwestern Turkana county.
Image: FILE:

The latest threat issued on the closure of Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps will seemingly take a deep slumber once again, like the other threats.

This follows a meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and the UN refugee agency’s High Commissioner Filippo Grandi at State House, Nairobi, on Thursday evening. The time frame for the closure of the camps was extended to June 30, 2022.

As stated above, this is not the first time that Kenya has sought to close the two camps, and is yet another time we as a country have lived up to the adage barking dogs seldom bite. In defence of the proverb, please look at our previous threats on the same topic.

It all began in 2016 with the then Interior CS Joseph Nkaissery, then Kenya wrote a letter to UNHCR on February 28, 2019, and this year’s statement by Fred Matiangi on March 23.

In reference to the threats issued by Kenya in 2016 and 2019, no closure was effected. And going by the Thursday meeting that resulted in June 30, 2022, deadline, history will repeat itself.

One reason why it will be difficult to repatriate the refugees. Picture this. You were born and raised in a certain place, and now you are 30. Then you are told that you need to go to your home. Which home will this adult of 30 years go to when he or she has never been there?

How do you send thousands to countries they have never been to yet they have lived in Kenya their entire lives?

On the issuance of residence or work permits that will allow the refugees to work or live in Kenya, how effective will the implementation be on such a short timeline? The government needs to come clean and state exactly how all these plans will be achieved. Otherwise, it will be another instance of all talk but no action.