Zimbabweans in Wales Blame Tsvangirai For Their Immigration Woes

Contributing to a meeting of Zimbabweans in Cardiff many accused Tsvangirai of sending mixed signals on the situation in back home.

“Tsvangirai should be consistent, he can’t be saying things are okay today and start mourning again tomorrow, we don’t know what to believe now,” said a Zimbabwean asylum seeker based in Cardiff.

The UK government this week issued new country guidance on Zimbabwe. The guidance was informed by an immigration judgement delivered by a UK judge saying the situation in Zimbabwe has improved to allow for the deportation of failed asylum seekers.

The Zimbabwean community in Wales believe Tsvangirai’s speeches make it difficult for them to consider returning.

“He is complaining everyday about the arrest of his people but when he comes here he wants to paint a picture of a good country. He should stop painting the wrong picture because what he says is used by the Home Office to deport us,” said an elderly woman while speaking at a public meeting organised by the Zimbabwean community in Cardiff this week.

“We came here alone, we used our own money, so he should stop telling us when to come back home.”

Many people here are quite angry with Prime Minister Tsvangirai whom they say has worsened their plight in the UK by lacking interest in their affairs.

“Some of us have lived here since 2002 but still don’t have proper status and our passports have expired. The UK government have been saying your Prime Minister wants you back home but after spending more than ten years here, I can’t just say I am going back home, we want to come back home but under the right conditions,” said yet another Zimbabwean refugee.

Many of these people are not working, surviving on a modest living allowance provided by the Wales Assembly government.

In talking to them, one gets a sense that they really want to come back home and are not quite happy with life as refugees but want a clear picture of how they will fit again in a Zimbabwean society that has changed considerably since they left.

Those who are waiting for the asylum papers live a life similar to those of criminals. They are required to report everyday at the immigration centre in their localities.

Tsvangirai was booed off the stage in 2009 when he visited London to meet Zimbabweans in the Diaspora following his infamous call for Zimbabwean Diaspora to come back home and help re-build the country.

The premier told the London meeting that the economic situation was improving back home and they should consider returning to help in the reconstruction exercise but the Diaspora community would not have it.

Many of them who are among the close to 10 000 currently waiting for their asylum status to be confirmed were hoping that Tsvangirai will bolster their case by painting a gloomy picture.

The community also said the government should deal with the issue of dual citizenship, create opportunities for Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to participate in political, economic and social issues of the country even if they are in the Diaspora.

Among some of the things that they will be interested in is how they can contribute to helping equip schools and hospitals.