BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
A UNITED KINGDOM-BASED Zimbabwean has appealed to United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister Boris Johnson to intervene and stop the deportation of Zimbabweans, among them asylum seekers.
In a letter to the British Prime Minister, and other higher authorities, Chris Goshomi said deportees were being used as “settlement payments” to improve bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and the UK, but were suffering from societal discrimination.
Fourteen deportees arrived in Zimbabwe last week, amid reports that 50 more were set to be deported anytime soon.
Goshomi, a politics and international relations PhD student at a UK university, said some convicted Zimbabweans preferred lengthy prison sentences instead of being deported due to fear of persecution by the Harare administration.
Human rights organisations abroad, including the Zimbabwe Community Appeal Group and the Restoration of Human Rights, have challenged the deportations claiming that the lives of the deportees would be in danger under President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.
“The genuine asylum seekers with pending cases have now stopped going to the reporting centres for signing in fear of being captured and sent back to Zimbabwe, in the same way the other ones have been deported. They abandon asylum accommodation and go underground,” Goshomi said.
“They then commit crimes in order to maximise income, and also to survive while trying to prepare for their lives in Zimbabwe, in anticipation of the day they get caught. I think this is more of a political problem than just a mere immigration problem, which requires close engagement with the communities in order to reach a collective objective solution.”
He said deportations would result in more illegal settlers and criminals within the UK as foreigners would shun disclosing their identities fearing deportations, which were not procedural.
“Deporting them in a way that is going to increase their vulnerability in Zimbabwe is neither helpful to their country, themselves, nor their communities both here in the UK and Zimbabwe, including their close families, and their children,” he said.
Secretary of State for the Home Department, Priti Patel, has insisted that the deportations were ordinary, and without any political connection.
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