LATEST: Zimbabwe deports hundreds of border jumpers


Hundreds of illegal immigrants have been deported since January as authorities cracked down on foreigners dribbling past immigration, the Zimbabwe Independent can report.

Respect Gono, chief director at the department of immigration, said this week that while Zimbabwe was ‘Open for Business’, it was important for foreigners to respect its laws.

“Our main mandate is to protect the security of Zimbabwe,” the immigration chief said.

“Zimbabwe is ‘Open for Business, as you know our mantra. But it does not mean we allow illegal migration. We promote safe and regular migration. “What we then do is check on our system if you are really here on a work basis. If you are not, we ask you to leave,” she added.

Information from the department of immigration showed that nationals from Malawi and another Asian country had also been netted in the operation. One official said the nationals from the Asian country were claiming to be bringing herbal medicine to Zimbabwean traditional healers, but then disappeared as soon as they were cleared by immigration.

Nationals from that country were also suspected to be drug trafficking.

Gono said immigrants from Malawi were not being deported, but repatriated.

However, she noted that the illegal migrants were arriving in Zimbabwe claiming they were going to work on farms.

“We let their embassy identify them. After that we hire buses to take them back,” Gono said.

“This is just sending them back through proper channels so that we do not ruin relations. We do not deport Malawians.

“We repatriate them because they are part of the Southern African Development Community. What happens is that sometimes they hide their passports after getting into Zimbabwe. We conduct a search and find that they do have passports,” she added.

Mwayiwawo Polepole, Malawian ambassador to Zimbabwe, said: “Indeed, there are some Malawians who were found not to have had valid travel documents.

“Considering that cases of that nature were increasing and filling up space in prisons, the Government of Zimbabwe through the immigration department honoured the United Nations convention that the host country of those arrested should be sent back to their countries.

“As neighbours and countries enjoying a long history of bilateral and diplomatic relations, two busses were dispatched to Malawi in January.“ Again, in February, another bus-load was dispatched to Malawi. In some instances, when immigration informs the embassy of such cases, the embassy engages in a process of self-repatriation.

“These processes are normal. The embassy is grateful to the Government of Zimbabwe for such a gesture,” the ambassador said. This month state security agencies also deported four American nationals whom they said were in the country illegally. Zimbabwe Independent.

Breaking News via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to our website and receive notifications of Breaking News by email.