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Panic in the air

by Zimbabwe Vigil Diary
23 Jul 2018 at 19:13hrs | Views
While the MDC announces a round-the-clock vigil for electoral reforms outside the offices of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the main concern of Zimbabweans in the UK seems to be not the looming election but their fear of being deported from Britain.

Some 70 Zimbabweans gathered at Downing Street on Wednesday to petition the Prime Minister not to send them back to Zimbabwe. This came after our Vigil last Saturday drew only a handful of people in its protest against electoral irregularities - a far cry from the 1,000+ people who joined us outside the Embassy to celebrate the ousting of Mugabe last November.

Some Zimbabweans here are paranoid about having to return to Zimbabwe, for economic reasons or fear of the unknown. We don't expect this to change much even if Nelson Chamisa wins the election. This seems theoretically possible given the latest Afrobarometer poll but ignores the likelihood of Zanu PF cheating its way back to power. Most people in the diaspora of course support Chamisa – but they are also financially supporting families back home and are aware of the parlous state of the economy, with the US dollar now impossible to get from banks and trading at a vast premium to the ersatz bond equivalent.

Zimbabwe may be, as President Mnangagwa proclaimed, 'open for business' but there is little confidence among the diaspora that this amounts to anything in terms of jobs, at least in the short term, given the endemic corruption.

The downside of last November's coup dawned slowly on the diaspora: now monster Mugabe has gone perhaps so has the main reason for their being given asylum. Unsubstantiated rumours now abound that the Home Office is working with the Zimbabwe Embassy to facilitate their return home. There is panic in the air.

Source - Zimbabwe Vigil Diary