Some Zimbabweans staged a peaceful demonstration today outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London in an attempt to press British authorities and other stakeholders to stop the deportation of more people linked to criminal activities and failed asylum seekers.
The protests were led by Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR Zimbabwe), political activists and individuals, who claimed that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government may harass and intimidate deportees said to be political opponents.
ROHR Zimbabwe spokesperson, Panyika Karimanzira, told VOA Zimbabwe Service that such protests would continue until the British government stops deportations.
“We are unhappy with the agreement that was made by the British and Zimbabwean government. We are saying the political situation in Zimbabwe is still tense and therefore sending people back home in inhumane,” said Karimanzira.
Opposition Movement for Democratic Alliance activist, Edgar Makuni, also urged the two governments to stop the deportations.
“It might be prudent for people who were involved in crime to be removed from the country but where are they doing to. If you call them criminals, fair enough but to remove criminals to other criminals, how does it help. They have no sanctuary where they are being taken to … So, we are saying, yes, you might have offended, you might have committed crimes here and there but does that warrant a death sentence. They are taking us to a place where our security is not guaranteed.”
But Zanu PF’s Simba Mavaza said all foreign criminals in various nations are subjected to the same treatment.
“Who wants to keep criminals in his or her country. Nobody. Those that have committed crimes should be deported and I don’t agree with claims that these people being sent back home will be victimized. The problem is that some of these people are not pretend to be MDC activists when they are facing deportation and claim that they will be victimized by the Zanu PF government. That’s not true.”
The British government recently deported 14 Zimbabwean nationals, who were described by the Home Office in London as convicted foreign criminals, following what it said was a historic landmark agreement between the two nations to send some Zimbabweans back home.
In a tweet, the Home Office said the deportees were sentenced to a combined total of over 75 years in prison for various crimes, including rape and murder.
The British government, which has deported 7,985 foreign criminals from the United Kingdom since January 2019, says it wants to keep its communities safe from criminals. Indications are that the country is planning to deport at least 150 Zimbabweans per month, especially those that have committed serious offences and failed asylum seekers.