The United Kingdom will this week start a mass deportation of Zimbabweans who sought asylum at the height of the country’s political upheavals under the late Robert Mugabe.
British envoys in Harare met Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs ministry officials to lay the ground for the imminent deportation of 150 Zimbabweans.
The first 50 deportees are expected in Harare on Wednesday, but there is a spirited campaign by some British legislators to block the deportations.
75 British politicians have written to Home secretary Priti Patel asking her to stop the deportations of the Zimbabwean nationals citing the “deteriorating” political and humanitarian situation in the southern African country.
The letter was signed by MPs and peers from all major British parties.”
Thousands of Zimbabweans were forced into exile from around 2000 when Mr Mugabe’s government embarked on an often-violent land reform programme that displaced nearly 4 000 white commercial farmers.
Most of them found refuge in South Africa, the UK, Canada, Australia and the United States.
After the 2017 coup that toppled Mr Mugabe, his successor President Emmerson Mnangagwa appealed to Zimbabweans to return home, but few took up the offer.
However, President Mnangagwa is accused on backtracking his promises to return Zimbabwe into a democracy amid a clampdown against his critics.
Zimbabwe’s economy is also still struggling, which has forced some of its citizens to seekKingdom refuge in neighbouring countries.