Nyakabande sub county authorities in Kisoro have asked the Red Cross Society to start paying tax for the land occupied by the Nyakabande refugee reception center or else relocate it to another place. Evarist Ntawera, the LC III chairperson of Nyakabande Sub County says Red Cross Society should start paying taxes for the land hosting the reception center because it has been a huge source of local revenue to the sub county.
He says that the land would host a weekly market that would contribute over shillings 10 to the coffers of the sub county. Ntawera says that besides being a source of local revenue, the market would also residents a place to transact business without walking long distances to find goods. He says now that Red Cross is hosting Congolese refugees on the land, it should start paying taxes or relocate Nyakabande refugee reception center to another area.
Serapio Byemana, a resident of Nyakabande Sub County has welcomed the decision by the authorities to compel Red Cross Society to pay taxes or evict the reception center. Byemana says that they now find it hard to sell their produce since the refugees are fed by Red Cross on food imported from other areas, leaving their produce to go to waste. He says the locals are not even allowed to sell food stuff in the camp saying the camp is of no use to them, and wants it evicted.
Johnson Kyomukama, the Kisoro Red Cross Branch Manager says that they have no budget for paying taxes but has promised to consult the United Nations High Commission for the Refugees on the way forward. Ahmed Mustapha Doka, the Kisoro Resident District Commissioner has asked the resident and sub county authorities to be patient with the refugees saying they have a right to be catered for. He says Uganda being a member of the United Nations has an obligation to take care of the refugees.
Doka has promised to hold a meeting with all stakeholders to discuss the way forward. Eddie Waghahungu, the Bufumbira East Member of Parliament has warned residents to desist from being hostile towards the refugees. He has promised to forward their concerns to the Disaster preparedness and relief Ministry for urgent intervention. Hundreds of Congolese refugees fled into Uganda recently, following renewed clashes between Congolese government forces and rebels allied to renegade army officer Bosco Ntaganda.