Zim­babwe refugees re­turn home

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the Govern­ment. I will not go into de­tail as to how I left the coun­try and the rea­sons be­hind that but all I can say is that I re­ally missed home and I could not con­tinue to sti­fle the urge to re­turn home un­til this op­por­tu­nity was availed to us by the gov­ern­ments of Zim­babwe and Botswana,” he said.

In­dus­try and Com­merce Min­is­ter Nqo­bizitha Man­gal­iso Ndlovu, who is also MP for Bulil­ima East, said Govern­ment would as­sist the re­turnees as they are re­ori­ented into their re­spec­tive com­mu­ni­ties.

“Those are our peo­ple and we have to find means of help­ing them. We have com­mit­tees to look into what sort of ca­pac­i­ta­tion they would need to be as­sisted. These are not small num­bers and cer­tainly they would be as­sisted. It is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of Govern­ment to as­sist them as they are ori­ented into the main­stream so­ci­ety,” said the Min­is­ter, who was in Plumtree yes­ter­day.

Govern­ment has since last year been work­ing to fa­cil­i­tate the re­turn of the peo­ple who sought refuge in Botswana. Some of them claimed they were vic­tims of po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence.

For­mer Home Af­fairs Min­is­ter Dr Obert Mpofu last year met Botswana’s Min­is­ter of De­fence, Jus­tice and Se­cu­rity, Mr Shaw Kgathi and the Min­is­ter of Na­tion­al­ity, Im­mi­gra­tion and Gen­der Af­fairs, Mr Ed­win Bat­shu to dis­cuss the is­sue among oth­ers.

After the meet­ings, Dr Mpofu then trav­elled to Dukwi Refugee Camp which is home to some 687 Zim­bab­wean refugees. Some of the “refugees” have lived at the camp, which is close to the bor­der be­tween the two coun­tries, for more than 15 years.

He ap­pealed to the “refugees” to re­turn home as there was no rea­son for them to con­tinue liv­ing out­side the coun­try.

Dr Mpofu said there was a new dis­pen­sa­tion in Zim­babwe and “the sit­u­a­tion has changed, and we will ac­tu­ally en­sure that they come back home with­out any vic­tim­i­sa­tion or ret­ri­bu­tion”.

He told the Chron­i­cle at the time that they were ap­prised of the Govern­ment’s po­si­tion on the mat­ter, “but they were also keen on their personal se­cu­rity, es­pe­cially after hav­ing lost their homes and were dis­placed and how the Govern­ment was go­ing to as­sist them to re-set­tle”.

Fol­low­ing Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa’s State visit to Botswana in Fe­bru­ary last year, au­thor­i­ties dis­cov­ered that nearly 700 Zim­bab­weans sought refuge in the neigh­bour­ing coun­try dur­ing the 2008 gen­eral elec­tions. — @ mash­nets HEAVY rains ac­com­pa­nied by strong winds which pounded Beit­bridge dis­trict in the last three days de­stroyed some build­ings at the bor­der post as well as many homes, a school and a clinic.

A sec­tion of the roof of the bor­der post build­ing that houses the ar­rivals sec­tion, cus­toms clear­ing agents’ of­fices and bonded ware­houses are among those de­stroyed.

The dis­trict civil pro­tec­tion unit chair­per­son Mrs Kili­boni Ndou-Mbedzi said they had as­sessed the dam­age and were com­pil­ing the costs in­volved.

She said they had also rec­om­mended that bor­der work­ers tem­po­rar­ily va­cate build­ings which were par­tially dam­aged to avoid pos­si­ble loss of life.

“The dam­age at the bor­der post is ex­ten­sive and dur­ing our en­gage­ment with bor­der au­thor­i­ties we rec­om­mended that the work­ers va­cate par­tially de­stroyed build­ings pend­ing fur­ther struc­tural as­sess­ments by en­gi­neers.

“We un­der­stand that the Zim­babwe Rev­enue Au­thor­ity had since dis­patched en­gi­neers from Harare to check on the dam­age,” said Mrs Ndou- MORE than 300 fam­i­lies who had il­le­gally set­tled at Wills­grove Farm in Umguza Dis­trict were left home­less after they were evicted from the prop­erty and their homes were de­mol­ished this week.

The farm is owned by Mac­Don­ald Bricks which was in pos­ses­sion of a court or­der to evict the fam­i­lies.

On Mon­day the fam­i­lies were given three days’ no­tice to move out of the prop­erty but they did not heed the no­tice lead­ing to evic­tions be­ing car­ried out on Thurs­day and yes­ter­day.

A Chron­i­cle news crew vis­ited the farm on both days and wit­nessed a bull­dozer raz­ing down the re­main­ing houses.

Prop­erty be­long­ing to the fam­i­lies was dumped on the road­side along the Bu­l­awayo-Gwanda Road. Most of the evicted fam­i­lies said they did not have al­ter­na­tive places to go.

Some of the evicted peo­ple yes­ter­day said they had spent the night by the road­side with rains soak­ing them.

“We were given the evic­tion no­tice on Mon­day and three days later they are evict­ing us. We were not given a chance to find new homes. What would you do with a three day no­tice in this econ­omy?” asked Mr Love­more Chisale, whose prop­erty had been dumped along the road.

Mr Chisale fears that his mi­nor child might catch a cold due to the rains while the fam­ily is in the open.

An­other vic­tim, Ms Siphetheni Maphosa (63) said what is trau­ma­tis­ing for her is that the sher­iff re­moved her prop­erty in her ab­sence. As a re­sult, she said, some of her prop­erty is miss­ing. “After they re­moved my prop­erty in my ab­sence they Mbedzi.

She said al­though no lives were lost at the bor­der, two of­fi­cers in­curred mi­nor in­juries.

Beit­bridge Bor­der Post is ar­guably the busiest in­land port in the Sadc re­gion. It han­dles an es­ti­mated 15 000 trav­ellers, 2 500 light ve­hi­cles and 600 trucks daily.

Mrs Kili­boni Ndou-Mbedzi said a to­tal of 10 home­steads were ex­ten­sively dam­aged in Mtetengwe, in Beit­bridge East, while sev­eral oth­ers in Tshik­walak­wala were dam­aged re­cently. She said some peo­ple were left with­out homes and food.

“Fur­ther, roof tops of the school and clinic in the area were par­tially blown off by strong winds. While we map the way for­ward in the mean­time we are giv­ing the vic­tims wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion fa­cil­i­ties in­clud­ing buck­ets and soap,” she said.

Beit­bridge East leg­is­la­tor Cde Al­bert Ngu­lu­vhe said busi­nesses and mem­bers of the com­mu­nity should work to­gether with other de­vel­op­ment agen­cies in as­sist­ing vic­tims.

“I am out of town but have been in touch with the lo­cal lead­ers in­clud­ing the coun­cil­lors on the is­sues on the ground. It is im­por­tant that we all work to­gether in help­ing all those who have lost valu­ables in­clud­ing their homes,” he said.

In separate in­ter­views vil­lagers from Mtetengwe said it was im­por­tant for the CPU to in­crease aware­ness cam­paigns in com­mu­ni­ties on disaster and risk man­age­ment is­sues.

“We are ap­peal­ing to govern­ment through its agen­cies to in­crease education in the com­mu­ni­ties es­pe­cially those sus­cep­ti­ble to dis­as­ters dur­ing the rainy sea­son.

“We are very for­tu­nate that none has died since the start of the rainy sea­son,” said Mr Ndan­d­u­leni Singo.

The Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Ser­vices De­part­ment re­cently warned of vi­o­lent rains in some parts of the coun­try.

“Phu­l­u­lani Sibanda, Nel­son Ndlovu and an­other sus­pect iden­ti­fied as Bruce teamed up and armed them­selves with cat­a­pults, knobker­ries and logs and ad­vanced to­wards Lu­paka vil­lagers. They chased after the now de­ceased Brother­ton Tshuma and his friend El­ber­son Dube. The sus­pects caught up with Tshuma and at­tacked him,” said Chief Insp Makonese.

Sibanda and Ndlovu had just re­turned from South Africa where they are based, a source said.

The source said dur­ing the at­tack on Tshuma, the as­sailants could be heard shout­ing say­ing mubambe (catch him) and ngikut­shaye kwapontsha (I fin­ished him).

Tshuma’s life­less body was found on the side of the road by some vil­lagers on Thurs­day morn­ing.

A re­port was made to the po­lice lead­ing to the ar­rest of the sus­pects.

Chief Mab­hikwa said he was aware of the re­cur­ring fights be­tween the two vil­lages but said he was yet to hear about lat­est in­ci­dent.

Mean­while, Chief Insp Makonese urged tra­di­tional lead­ers in the area to en­gage their sub­jects to find a so­lu­tion to the grudges. She also warned mem­bers of the pub­lic against car­ry­ing dan­ger­ous weapons. — @ ncubeleon.

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