Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 23rd July 2011
The attempt to deport Vigil supporter Josephine Chari confirms the British government’s determination to end the moratorium on sending home failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers. Josephine was returned to Yarlswood detention centre from the airport and it is not yet clear what her position is.
But it is known that one Zimbabwean has already been forcibly removed and the larger than normal turnout at the Vigil suggests that many people believe they could be next. A campaigner for asylum seekers says the UK Border Agency is trying desperately to meet a deadline to resolve about half a million outstanding cases by the end of the month.
Chris Eades from Asylum Aid said: ‘Over the last six months there has been very little rhyme or reason to who is granted leave to remain and who is refused. The decisions are bizarre and irrational’.
Meanwhile there are reports that the South Africans have extended the deadline for Zimbabweans to regularize their position from the end of July to the end of August. But they have repeated that they will then begin deportations.
The Vigil has always argued that our supporters would be in danger if returned to Zimbabwe because they have been seen and photographed protesting outside the Embassy. This argument has been supported by recent revelations by SW Radio Africa, which has been publishing the names from a list of CIO agents it has obtained, at least two of whom are currently deployed at the Zimbabwe Embassy.
They are Bright Kupemba and Win Busayi Juyana Mlambo, who is effectively the Deputy Ambassador. (see: http://www.swradioafrica.com/Documents/CIOpart3mm.htm and http://www.swradioafrica.com/Documents/CIOpart4fe.htm)
Talking of the London-based SW Radio Africa, the station’s manager Gerry Jackson made the point: why is the British government trying to send back Josephine and not the CIO torture Machemedze who has been given leave to remain in the UK? (see: Vigil diaries: 21st and 28th May 2011 http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/308-malawi-cuts-off-its-own-nose-zimbabwe-vigil-diary-21st-may-2011 and http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/311-vigil-demands-no-haven-in-uk-for-cio-torturer-zimbabwe-vigil-diary-28th-may-2011).
• Washington Ali of MDC Southend came to the Vigil and appealed for support for an anti-deportation protest to be held in Southend on Thursday, 28th July. For details see ‘Events and Notices’.
• Vigil supporters were shocked at how viciously Mugabe’s friend President Mutharika has acted in suppressing dissent in Malawi. We are not surprised that Malawi is in turmoil given his autocratic behaviour as evidenced by the expulsion of the High Commissioner for the UK, Malawi’s largest donor (the UK promptly suspended aid). We hope Mutharika will soon make use of his US $22 million presidential jet to flee the country . . . probably to the stolen farm he was given in Zimbabwe. We commend Malawians for their courage and hope they will lead a wave of change in Southern Africa on the Middle Eastern pattern.
• The Vigil has been kindly disposed to Minister of Education Senator David Coltart since he came to visit us last year. But we were disappointed by his remarks reported in an article in the Australian newspaper. They sounded remarkably like comments by people who met Hitler . . . such a nice man, charming, a vegetarian, likes dogs . . . (See: Foes drag Zimbabwe from the brink – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/jul23_2011.html#Z5.) Coltart says Mugabe is in charge – well with that comes responsibility for all the evils being perpetrated in Zimbabwe. We know that the ludicrous constitution being prepared in Zimbabwe will probably provide for the death penalty for anyone criticising the President but the Vigil’s view is that he should face trial in the Hague . . . charming or not.
• It was good to have back with us Memory ‘Gwenzi’ Mucherahowa (former Dynamos FC captain and manager),
For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website. For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check http://www.zimvigiltv.com/.
FOR THE RECORD: 113 signed the register.
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