Concern is high for the fate of scores of Zimbabweans living in the UK as asylum seekers, with that country said to be stepping up its practice of deportations.
Muchineripi Rwizi, famously known as Mr Christmas is also facing imminent deportation from the UK after his asylum case was turned down.
The 49 year old left the country under unclear circumstances in 2015. Our source reveals that Rwizi is alleged to have secretly fundraised for MDC party using Zanu Pf platforms.
When this came to light, it riled his local Zanu Pf MP, who was supporting Mr Christmas’ project leading to Rwizi absconding the country and ended back in the UK where he had previously been removed.
Another reliable source in the UK who spoke on the grounds of anonymity confirms Rwizi has been a fundraising member of his MDC local branch and was recently voted as secretary of the MDC UK and Ireland Midlands South District.
As things currently look, Rwizi might be celebrating his next Christmas in a Zimbabwe prison as he will likely be intercepted by the state security agents who are well known for trumping up charges for any known MDC members and activists. By fundraising for Nelson Chamisa’s MDC party, Rwizi will likely face treason charges or accused of subverting a democratically elected government.
In 2012 UK resumed deportations after suspending the practice four years earlier. The moratorium was put in place because of politically motivated violence in Zimbabwe during the 2008 elections, a situation which was deemed too risky for people to be forcibly returned to.
But in that same year, the UK started the deportations again, saying it was safe for people to go home.
Regis Manyanya, from the Nottingham Zimbabwe Community Network, told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that the deportations have since been stepped up in recent months. He said this was a serious concern, because some of the people that have been picked up are active members of the MDC in the UK, and could be vicitmised in Zimbabwe for this.
Manyanya explained that two MDC UK members, including the Coventry branch Secretary Grant Maboyi, have been deported in the past month. Maboyi was picked up by immigration officials at the UK Border Authority offices, where he was undergoing routine reporting.
Another MDC member, Nancy Bonongwe, was also picked up and deported that year. She was a member of the MDC Nottingham branch. Manyanya said that several other Zimbabweans had been picked up and some have been deported, calling the trend “disturbing.”
“It is a concern to us that if you have been actively involved and campaigning for regime removal in Zimbabwe and highlighting the bad things that they do, then you are instantly recognisable once you reach the airport,” Manyanya said.