Deportations expose British hypocrisy

by | Jul 22, 2021 | International | 0 comments

Hosia Mviringi

On June 30, 2021, the Embassy of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Zimbabwe announced in a note an agreement reached with the Government of Zimbabwe to start deporting Zimbabwean nationals deemed illegal in the United Kingdom.
A protracted meeting was held between officials from the embassy’s political section and the Zimbabwean Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
The meeting was meant to find common ground on modalities for the management of deportees in the face of a marauding Covid-19 pandemic.

It was agreed in principle then that the British could proceed with the deportations, with a maximum of 50 persons at a time.
However, a few questions need to be asked on the timing and intended outcomes of the deportation program.
Firstly it has to be agreed that the period we are currently in is very delicate and much so when international travel is still limited to extremely necessary cases.
British deportations have a heightened potential for a major international and intercontinental transmission of lethal variants of the Covid-19 virus, to which the Zimbabwean health system could be exposed and found wanting.

Questions will be asked why Britain has finally seen the urgency now to deport the same persons they have harboured for more than 20 years purportedly to protect them from their (deportees) own government.
When Britain took in thousands of Zimbabwean asylum seekers at the turn of the millennium, at face value, on the strength of alleged political persecution at the hands of the ZANU PF government, which government still leads the country today.
Britain would go further and use these false narratives of political persecution to justify imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe, sanctions which still hurt the country to date.

This fact alone will inevitably challenge critics and analysts to ask if the situation has changed now in Zimbabwe.
Britain should apologise for not paying due diligence to issues when asylum seekers were cooking narratives to gain access to their country, at the expense of Zimbabwe.
Well, for starters, it would be assumed that the British Embassy in Harare assessed the political situation on the ground and certified it safe for the return of self-exiled nationals.

But if the ZANU PF government was the danger to it’s citizens at first, which has always been a lie, why has the British government been mum to the fact that Zimbabwe has finally become safe for its citizens to return?
Why has the British government not reciprocated to this positive change by lifting its ruinous economic embargo on Zimbabwe?
It is widely known that Britain was instrumental in campaigning for sanctions on Zimbabwe both within the European Union and United States for the same reasons that they admit are no longer exist today, if they ever existed at all.
They successfully internationalised a bilateral misunderstanding with Zimbabwe on the basis of non-existent human rights abuses.
Perhaps it would be most logical if the British government took a lead in certifying Zimbabwe a safe place and engage in a worldwide campaign to end the sanctions.

The irony is that when these nationals left Zimbabwe, they painted a horrible picture of their motherland, much to the enjoyment of the British government who had a bone to chew and a point to prove to the international world against the Zimbabwean government following the historic land reform of the early 2000s.
If the Zimbabwean government has now passed as a respecter of human rights, according to the British jury, why not lift sanctions and make life better for all citizens including the returnees?
But perhaps critical to note is the fact that Britain has harboured these nationals, some for close to two decades, only to deport them today as criminals and felons.

Most of the returnees traded their own country in one way or the other, in exchange for what could be freedom behind the asylum paper.
Unfortunately for them, life has got a way of paying back in equal measure.
They are getting deported during one of the most difficult periods in a generation when economies are either closed or are at a standstill worldwide.

This exposes the duplicity in the British corridors of power whose leaders have turned back at their alleged human rights guardianship into creating a humanitarian crisis. In principle, the British are discarding a hardworking legion of foreign nationals who at some point provided critical skilled and unskilled labour to the benefit of their economy, in a typical baby dumping fashion.
However, more worrying to Zimbabwean authorities is the possibility of inheriting hard core criminals and or trained bandits, coming straight out of British prison.
These could cause a serious headache if not managed well by the receiving country.