Zimbabwe: 20,000 Nationals Face Deportation from Britain
Kitsepile Nyathi 19 August 2010
Harare — At least 20,000 failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers in the United Kingdom could be deported before the end of the year as a result of the relative economic and political stability in the southern African country following the formation of a unity government.
Britain, Zimbabwe's former colonial master this week sent a fact finding mission from its Border Agency to Harare to assess claims that the country is still unsafe for the failed asylum seekers to return.
The UK is one of the many Western countries with a huge population of immigrants from Zimbabwe who escaped the economic and political turmoil that began intensifying in 2000.
Others are New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United States.
The biggest population of Zimbabwean immigrants estimated at over three million is suspected to be living in neighbouring South Africa.
Thousands were granted asylum in the UK on the strength that they were supporters of the then opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and were facing persecution by supporters of President Mugabe's Zanu PF party.
Last year, President Robert Mugabe's fiercest rival joined a unity government following inconclusive elections the previous year.
An official at the British embassy in Harare Mr Andrew Jones told the privately owned NewsDay newspaper that findings of the fact finding mission would be used by the UK Asylum Tribunal in October. "The aim of the mission is to ensure that the UK Border Agency has the most up to date information.''