Court in Zimbabwe has ordered the deportation of 20 Ugandan nationals over illegal entry while en-route to South Africa.
The Ugandans including a five-year-old were arrested along Bulawayo-Victoria Falls road in Zimbabwe’s second-largest city by Zimbabwe police as reported by CITE, a news outlet.
Arrested on Saturday, they were Monday arraigned before the Bulawayo Provincial magistrates court judge Tinashe Tashaya who sentenced them to 3 months imprisonment wholly suspended on condition that they do not commit a similar offence in the next five years.
This means they do not serve the sentence but face deportation and if they commit the same offence in Zimbabwe within the next five years, the suspended sentence is activated.
The Ugandans to be deported as ordered by court are Thomson Barisigara, Martin Katerega, Elizabeth Kisembo, Abdul Katumba, Habiibu Kiggundu, Hamuza Asiimwe, Hassan Kagaba, Rasul Dalausi and George Willy Ochom.
Others are; Shafic Senyange, Umar Kasango, Adam Kagaba, Peninah Nakitende, Gaddafi Magezi, Alex Kiganda, Ramazan Masereka, Sulaiman Mugerwa and Peter Opio. Muzimba Solomon Ssemakula and Kato Derrick Kimera are also on the list of the Ugandans arrested. The judge ordered that the Ugandans be deported.
“This court takes cognizance of the people in transit particularly here in Africa. As the court, we endeavour to protect all persons in transit,” said the judge Tashaya.
The legal representative of the Ugandans Jabulani Mhlanga and Ngobani Sithole of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) pleaded with court not to hand them custodial sentence saying the Ugandans had adhered to the legal requirements but were defrauded by a person who was trying to get them to South Africa through Zimbabwe.
“These nationals cannot get custodial sentence because they are first offenders, and they have used up almost all their coffers as they have been on the road for the past 10 days,” Sithole told court.
He also told court to take into consideration the fact that the group of Ugandans has women, an expectant woman and a minor. The Ugandans were nabbed when a whistleblower reported to police that they didn’t have travel documents. Their passports were not stamped by immigration in Zimbabwe, an indication that they didn’t pass through the proper channels.