South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma is the mediator of Zimbabwe’s crisis.
The group also demonstrated against the UK Home Office which indicated, it will resume deportations to failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers following a ruling by a UK court paving the way for such a move.
The group numbering up to 100 gathered attracted the attention of hundreds of visitors to London’s landmark Trafalgar Square.
“They are busy talking trade with Zimbabwe, is it because of diamonds and gold? We are saying they must talk about human rights first before trade. Today we want to ask Zuma when this negotiation is going to end?” said Ephraim Tapa, a UK based Zimbabwean activist while addressing the protesters.
“It is high time now Zuma and South Africa raise their hands and say we have failed the people of Zimbabwe and let the UN (United Nations) take over the case like it has done in Libya.”
Another activist Tonderai Samanyanga, who also doubles as the interim chairman of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in UK and Ireland, had a clear message for the UK government.
“We would like to express our grave concern over the announcement by your government over the resumption of deportations of failed sanctuary seekers back to Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe Guidance recently published is a mockery of the situation in Zimbabwe despite overwhelming evidence of false and arbitrary arrests of MDC leadership, supporters and the civil society,” said Samanyanga reading from a petition sent to the UK Home Office.
“We are saddened by your government’s decision to deport people who have sought protection back to Zimbabwe. This amounts to a death sentence.”
The group sang and danced for about three hours in front of the SA embassy which however closed business at 11 am before its officials could accept the petition from the Zimbabweans.
However the group managed to send a petition to the UK Home Office and the Mozambican embassy in London calling for the halting of the planned deportations and a stop to violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe respectively. The group will hand over a petition to the South Africa embassy on Tuesday morning.
Melody Chiwashira, an asylum seeker leaving in London said the UK government should rethink its decision.
“There is no light at home, people are still being arrested for no apparent reason and we don’t even understand why they want us to go back,” said Chiwashira.
In 2006, the British Home Office halted forced repatriation to Zimbabwe. The deportation of individuals to the politically unstable country meant their safety could not be guaranteed. But in October last year, after a Home Office fact-finding trip to Zimbabwe, Immigration Minister Damian Green announced it would again repatriate failed asylum-seekers.