Botswana of­fi­cials ‘bru­talise, de­port’ il­le­gal Zim mi­grants

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Nqo­bile Tshili Chron­i­cle Cor­re­spon­dent

BOTSWANA po­lice and chiefs are al­legedly bru­tal­is­ing Zim­bab­weans who en­ter that coun­try il­le­gally be­fore de­port­ing them.

Pre­sent­ing a re­port of the the­matic com­mit­tee on Peace and Se­cu­rity on the State of the Coun­try’s Bor­ders in the Senate re­cently, the com­mit­tee’s chair­per­son, Sen­a­tor Damian Mumvuri, said Botswana of­fi­cials ha­rass il­le­gal im­mi­grants and as­sault for­eign­ers be­fore forc­ing them to walk long dis­tances.

Sen­a­tor Mumvuri said the com­mit­tee came face to face with prob­lems faced by de­por­tees dur­ing one of its fact find­ing mis­sions at the Plumtree Bor­der Post.

“The com­mit­tee man­aged to wit­ness a group of Zim­bab­weans at the no-man’s land be­tween Zim­babwe and Botswana who had been de­ported. They could hardly walk and had wounds all over their bod­ies. They sub­mit­ted that they had been beaten up by both the Botswana po­lice and the tra­di­tional chief courts,” said Sen­a­tor Mumvuri.

He said Plumtree Bor­der Post has wit­nessed a de­crease in the num­ber of de­por­tees in the last three years.

“It was sub­mit­ted to the com­mit­tee that de­por­ta­tions from Botswana had de­clined in the past three years although year on year fig­ures from 2014-2015 are on the in­crease and rose by 45 per­cent. Botswana has since in­ten­si­fied their in­land sys­tem of re­mov­ing il­le­gal im­mi­grants,” Sen­a­tor Mumvuri said.

The Sen­a­tor said the Reg­is­trar Gen­eral’s Of­fice should de­cen­tralise its of­fices to district lev­els as this will re­duce the num­ber of peo­ple trav­el­ling with­out pass­ports.

“It was fur­ther sub­mit­ted that the geo­graph­i­cal lo­ca­tion of the near­est pass­port of­fice in the prov­ince (Gwanda and Bu­l­awayo) lead to il­le­gal mi­gra­tion. There is a need to con­sider district reg­istries as pos­si­ble pass­port ap­pli­ca­tion points. This, it was sub­mit­ted, may help cut down the vol­ume of il­le­gal mi­grants due to un­avail­abil­ity of pass­ports,” he said.

Sen­a­tor Mumvuri said in­com­plete bor­der posts such as the Mait­engwe Bor­der Post have be­come safe havens for smug­glers.

“Smug­glers now re­alise the po­ten­tial of these un­po­liced bor­der cross­ings and there­fore smug­gle mostly fuel and elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ances through il­le­gal cross­ing points along the bor­der. Ve­hi­cles to pa­trol the bor­der are also not ad­e­quate and most of the per­son­nel will be pa­trolling on foot. There is also smug­gling of goods through un­der in­voic­ing to pay less duty,” he said.

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