GOVERNMENT is reportedly failing to raise about $12 000 required to bring back about 32 of the over 200 Zimbabwean women stranded in Kuwait after falling victim to human trafficking.
by Everson Mushava
The women were reportedly staying at the house of Zimbabwean Ambassador to Kuwait Mark Grey Marongwe.
Marongwe is reportedly using his own resources to look after the women.
A group of local MPs who travelled to Kuwait on a bilateral relationship visit were reportedly trying to find ways to mobilise resources to help the women return home after Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi allegedly said government was broke.
The MPs, led by Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda, were advised by the government that families of the stranded women should mobilise their own resources to bring them back home.
One of the MPs, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, confirmed the development, which she said was an embarrassment to the country.
“Yes, there are 32 women stranded here. Honourable Kindness Paradza called Minister Mumbengegwi, but was told government had no money,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.
She, however, could not provide more details, saying Mudenda would produce a report on the matter.
Paradza could not be reached for comment yesterday. Mumbengegwi was also not picking up calls.
But Misihairabwi-Mushonga said: “We are actually trying to find ways to raise money to bring the girls back home.”
Secretary for Foreign Affairs Joey Bimha told NewsDay last night that Treasury did not provide embassies with a vote to cover such cases.
“The only thing the ambassador can do is to get in touch with the families of the women and arrange with them to make sure that they raise funds for air tickets to bring them home,” he said.
Pressed further on whether it was also not the responsibility of government to bring back its citizens stranded in foreign lands, Bimha said: “I am only answering in terms of Foreign Affairs, the request that has been put to Minister Mumbengegwi.”
A Kuwaiti Embassy official, Brenda Avril May, was last month arrested together with several alleged Zimbabwean accomplices on allegations of “trading” over 200 women from Zimbabwe for slavery under the pretext that they would be provided with employment.
Some of the women are back in the country, while others were reportedly still stranded in Kuwait and Dubai.
Early this month, Zimbabwe Women in Politics Alliance and the Zimbabwe Activist Alliance were blocked by the police from petitioning the Kuwaiti government to bring back the stranded girls.