PEACE and security enjoyed in Rwanda borders is one of the major ingredients that have made conservation a success in that country, says charge d’Affaires at the Rwandan High Commission in Zambia Abel Buhungu.
Mr Buhungu highlighted the importance of cooperation between neighbouring countries sharing this vital resource of tourism.
He was speaking at Press conference organized by Tourism council of Zambia chairman Dr Hans Heuer.
He said the simplified visa regime in Rwanda had fostered its success in the tourism industry.
“This is where all citizens from African countries acquire visas at national point of entry, acquire a group tourist visa for those wishing to travel as a group and the East African tourist visa which is paid at once and allows a tourist to visit Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya with one Visa,” he said.
Mr Buhungu also commented on the historical factors from 1959 that climaxed in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi that contributed to the large number of Rwandans to seek refuge across the African continent and beyond.
Mr Buhungu said some of the former refugees would opt to remain in the host countries for various social and economic reasons, highlighting the importance of legalising their stay in those countries as guided by national laws.
He said one of the prime assignments of the Rwandan high commission was to identify with the Rwandan diaspora in Zambia and facilitate relevant documentation for those who choose legalisation of their continued stay in Zambia as provided by the laws of the host country.
“Rwanda has five provinces but we also refer to the Rwandan diaspora as the sixth province because the government of Rwanda believes that they too should enjoy the rights that their fellow 12 million compatriots in Rwanda enjoy,” he said
Mr Buhungu conveyed his gratitude to Zambia on behalf of his country and the Rwanda high commission for the enabling environment that the host country continues to provide in facilitating this process.
“You cannot understand the current diaspora members without understanding the history of Rwanda,” he said.
He further clarified that since the declaration of the Cessation Clause of 2013, a clause which Zambia has since thankfully officially invoked, the refugee status of Rwandans has since been nullified.
Mr Buhungu added that the Rwandan government continued to promote voluntary repatriation of former refugees through various initiatives like “come and see – go and tell” policy involving Rwandan community representatives.