Socialist Worker

Hunger striker: ‘I’ll die rather than go back to Zimbabwe’

by Mark Brown, secretary of Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees
Issue No. 1959

While the foreign office says “Zimbabweans are deprived of their democratic and human rights”, the home office is preparing to deport Zimbabwean asylum seekers back to face Mugabe’s regime.

Timbha Mqhubeli, 30, is one of the leaders of a hunger strike in protest at the Harmondsworth detention centre near Heathrow. He has survived on nothing but water since 2 June.

On Wednesday of last week Timbha was put in isolation in an attempt to break his will.

“In isolation you can’t talk to anybody and you only make outgoing telephone calls when you make a request,” Timbha said. “Even then, they only give you 15 minutes, including the time it takes to walk to the phone.”

Timba fled here after he was assaulted by the armed thugs of the ruling party, Zanu-PF. He attacked the hypocrisy of Blair and his home secretary who say Zimbabwe is safe.

“They say we are safe to return, but they can’t even go there,” said Timba. “Why don’t they go there and see for themselves?”

Timbha is convinced that he would be killed upon return to Zimbabwe, and is prepared to starve himself to death in protest at Blair’s plan to deport him. “It seems that whatever happens we are going to die anyway,” he said.

“At least to die protesting exposes those politicians who criticise Mugabe but don’t do anything to help the people he has persecuted.”

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Sat 9 Jul 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1959
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