This week’s visit by a United Kingdom Border Agency fact-finding team to see for themselves the political situation on the ground in the country is critical in establishing the veracity of claims by Zimbabweans who sought asylum in the UK.
This is a wise move as it will afford the team a real feel and opportunity to see what the situation in Zimbabwe is really like rather than relying on sources with hidden agendas and biases.
While we understand that among those set to be deported are some with genuine cases of prosecution and persecution, it cannot be ruled out that there are plenty fraudsters who claim their lives are in danger.
These people capitalising on the UK government’s ignorance of the situation on the ground need to be exposed.
Yes, the environment is not yet what we expect it to be because we still have marauding war veterans led by none other than the energetic Jabulani Sibanda making a fool of themselves in rural areas, torching dwellings while the world is moving on.
There is an estimated 20 000 failed asylum seekers in the UK while several other thousands are living in the Diaspora under false pretences.
Then there are thousands more who were granted asylum after convincing the gullible British government that they were victims of state persecution which saw many maimed or killed in incidents of political violence that characterised Zimbabwe in the past decade.
The UK government probably believes conditions in Zimbabwe could now be conducive for failed asylum seekers to return home.
We, however, want to encourage the fact-finding mission to be thorough in its research, as general appearances may be deceiving.
Many leaders, especially in Africa, have been deceived by the general calm they see whenever they come to Zimbabwe.
The team needs to appreciate that the Zimbabwe government is good at grand-staging, and can easily paint a picture of the exact opposite.
It is not in doubt that things have significantly changed on the ground, especially after the Government of National Unity.
But obviously among the failed asylum seekers are people who might have fibbed that their lives were in danger.
These people can become prime targets for Zanu PF, so there has to be some kind of mechanism to ensure that their safety is guaranteed, even if they had lied in the beginning.