BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
UNITED KINGDOM-BASED human rights organisation, the Zimbabwe Community Appeal Group (ZCAG), says more Zimbabweans are set to be deported from that country, some of them without criminal history.
A chartered plane carrying 14 Zimbabweans that were deported from the UK arrived in the country last week, amid reports that the deportees were criminals.
The rights group raised concerns over the agreement between the British and the Zimbabwean governments to deport 100 more Zimbabweans, claiming that their safety was not guaranteed in their home country.
Yesterday, ZCAG accused Zimbabwe ambassador to the UK, Christian Katsande of corruptly exempting some individuals due for deportation after he refused to sign their travel documents.
Fourteen out of 50 Zimbabweans who were deported from UK arrived in the country last week, after they had been released from prison for various offences, including murder and sexual offences.
Thirty-six others, who stayed behind, raised fears that their lives would be in danger under President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.
“MDC Alliance, ZHRO, Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) and Zapu are not inclined to support any murderers, rapists, and other ‘criminals’, rather they worked together to avail the needed support for those that were detained without notice so that each one of them gets due process before any permanent outcome is decided,” ZCAG said.
“We understand Ms Priti Patel (UK Home secretary)’s assertion that criminals should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But the current deportees have already served their sentences or are within their sentence in respect of the very few Zimbabwean murderers affected by this Home Office policy change.”
The rights groups said there were some morally upright and formally employed Zimbabweans who were being overshadowed by a political ploy by government to regard them as criminals.
“The UK asylum system is deliberately complex, convoluted and expensive to navigate. Many of these so-called criminals have fallen foul of the discrimination in the UK’s Home Office. In addition, let us not forget how dangerous Zimbabwe is for those deemed as against Zanu PF or unable to be able to swear allegiance to Zanu PF.
“Many Zimbabweans have a record of being hardworking, diligent and are full of integrity in their jobs and in how they have conducted themselves in the UK. Many Zimbabweans have worked for the National Health Service (NHS) and other institutions for many years. The contribution of Zimbabweans in the UK should not be overshadowed by a few bad apples and the efforts of Zanu PF propaganda to fit a narrative of criminality and prejudice.”
Foreign Affairs ministry acting spokesperson Livit Mugejo dismissed the claims as a political stunt by the deportees who did not want to come back home.
He said it was common that Zimbabweans would be deported from other countries for various reasons and the UK case was no exception, and also dismissed that Katsande refused to sign the documents for deportees.
“There are some Zimbabweans due for deportation, but they are not willing to come back home. They are using, and are politicking the issue to get attention and stop the deportations. We have only been notified about the 50 Zimbabweans who are due for deportation.
“Whether there are more who are due for deportation, we are yet to be notified. Of the remaining 50 that are set to be deported, some are still challenging the legality of the move. If they succeed, they can remain there, but if their bid fails, we will see them here,” Mugejo said.
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