By Nqobile Tshili
ABOUT 200 Zimbabweans, mostly women, are on death row in China after they were arrested for drug trafficking, an MP has said.
Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development parliamentary portfolio committee chairperson Beatrice Nyamupinga moved a motion on human trafficking in the National Assembly on Tuesday, where she made the revelations.
The Zanu-PF MP for Goromonzi said most of the women on death row were duped by their Nigerian boyfriends that they were going for shopping in preparation for their weddings and drugs would be placed in their luggage without their knowledge.
She said the Nigerians would have paid lobola for the women who the West Africans then use as drug mules.
“We’ve about 200 Zimbabweans and the majority of the 200 are women, who are on the death row in China because they’ve been used by the so-called Nigerians who are coming here, marrying them through an Act that we enacted in this House. They marry them and then ask them to go to China to buy their wedding gowns,” said Nyamupinga.
“As they go to China to buy their wedding gowns, they’re given a bag, which has a false bottom and in that false bottom, drugs are secretly packed.
“They’re told ‘when you get to China my friend is going to receive you and will show you the shops where you can buy your gown.’ She gets to China and the immigration and customs of China know that and these girls are intercepted and convicted.”
Nyamupinga also said thousands of other women are stranded in other countries after being promised lucrative jobs.
“It’s with a heavy heart that I rise to move a motion on human trafficking following the repatriation of around 53 out of 1,000 women believed to have been trafficked to Kuwait. Not only Kuwait but to other countries like China, other Arab countries and including South Africa of all countries,” said Nyamupinga.
“On this one, let me also add that these girls or the women who are being trafficked, we’ve almost 2,000 or over 1,000 that are roaming around China as we speak right now. They were trafficked to China and some of them are now desperate and stranded in China.”
She said government departments should swiftly address the issue of foreigners marrying locals as they are the ones contributing to the challenges of human trafficking.
“Once that’s done, the Nigerian will go and marry the next one. I don’t know the game of changing names and whatever happens. I think also the Minister of Home Affairs, through the Registrar General, should also look at this.
“So, these women now — you know in China, they’ll tell you that once you bring drugs, it’s death penalty, almost 200 are on death row and of the 200, the majority are women,” she said.
Nyamupinga said an inter-ministerial committee should be tasked to address the human trafficking issue.
She said human trafficking is even happening locally where girls are moved from rural areas to cities after being promised employment only to be deployed in brothels as prostitutes.
According to Amnesty International, China tops globally when it comes to executions but figures of victims of capital punishment have been kept a State secret.
On the other hand, even though Zimbabwe upholds the death sentence for men aged between 21 and 70 years, it has not carried out any executions since 2004.
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is also the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has vowed not to authorise any executions.
VP Mnangagwa escaped death by hanging in the 1960s following his conviction for sabotage by the Rhodesian regime because of his youthful age. The Chronicle