Socialist Worker

Tory plan to deport Zimbabweans could be a ‘death sentence’

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2764

A protest against a Tory deportation flight in London at the beginning of last year

A protest against a Tory deportation flight in London at the beginning of last year (Pic: Guy Smallman)


The Tories are pressing ahead with more mass deportations.

Zimbabweans who have been in Britain for many years are being rounded up for removal on a charter flight next week.

Over a dozen people have been detained by immigration authorities this month. Many of them have been issued deportation orders for 21 July.

Tsitsi, a Zimbabwean refugees who came to Britain 15 years ago, told Socialist Worker that being sent back to the southern African could be “a death sentence”. She said, “I fled Zimbabwe, a country I loved because I was linked to a group of trade unionists and activists.

“Robert Mugabe’s regime was tearing through us. I would have disappeared if I had stayed.

“Mugabe has gone, but the new government of Emmerson Mnangagwa is no better.”

Just last year Mnangagwa made a speech saying he would “flush out” the “bad apples who have attempted to divide our people and to weaken our systems”.

He added, “We will overcome attempts at destabilisation of our society by a few rogue Zimbabweans acting in league with foreign detractors”. His targets included those who will be on a deportation flight.

One man due to be deported, Bryan Mucheriwa, has been in Britain for 20 years and has three British children. He told The Independent newspaper he felt frightened at the prospect of returning to his home country.

“I feel so afraid,” he said. The Home Office called me last year to verify my identity, but they used someone from the government in Zimbabwe to confirm my identity.

“Even if I tried to relocate in Zimbabwe, someone in the government has all my information.

“How can I cope there? I’ll be in danger. And if I’m sent back there, I don’t know when I’ll see my kids again.”

Struck 

In secret meetings on 22 and 23 June in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare, a deal was struck between Emily Hardy of the UK High Commission and a Zimbabwean diplomat.

The agreement was for up to 150 undocumented Zimbabweans to be deported on Wednesday 21 July. Those to be deported include undocumented people, but the media will be advised that they are all convicted criminals.

Terror and trauma—victims tell the terrible truth about the Tories’ ‘hostile environment’ policy
Terror and trauma—victims tell the terrible truth about the Tories’ ‘hostile environment’ policy
  Read More

There are reports of Zimbabweans snatched when they have turned up to report at Home Office centres. And there are reports of people taken from their homes—in Manchester, London, Southampton and Wakefield. The number is 28 people so far.

Many are being held in Colnbrook Detention Centre, near London Heathrow Airport.

Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) denounced the deportation plan, saying, “This is another horrific stepping up of home secretary Priti Patel’s racist hostile environment.

“The Tories are upping their attempts to scapegoat people in the face of their failures over Covid-19.”

Minnie Rahman of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants said, “The Home Office must stop exiling people to countries where they face mortal danger. Nobody’s life should be put at risk because they don’t have the right piece of paper.”

Anti-racists in Sheffield joined a demonstration organised by South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group against the deportations on Friday afternoon.

Sign the petition to stop the deportations to Zimbabwe. Petition to support Bryan Mucheriwa here 

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.