Sunday, July 5, 2020

Botswana braces for stampede of Zimbabwean refugees

The office of the president this week labeled the problem of political
refugees fleeing from Zimbabwe as “very sensitive” and refused to discuss its extent with the media.

At least 150 refugees fleeing the Zimbabwean political meltdown have been resettled at Dukwi refugee camp and the numbers are expected to swell as the Zimbabwean situation deteriorates. David Sediadie from the Office of the President confirmed the figure to The Sunday Standard on Wednesday and that they all cited the deteriorating political situation from their country as grounds for seeking asylum.

Sediadie, however, would not discuss details, saying “this situation is very sensitive and I believe the information I have given you is enough.”

Political commentators say the Zimbabwe refugee stampede is likely to get worse before it gets better. “One can only hope that this ugly situation will be arrested before it gets worse or else we are going to end up with the Dukwi camp overrun with Zimbabwean refugees.”

Besides the 150 political refugees, there are thousands of economic refugees who enter the country either legally or illegally in search of greener pastures.

Traditional leaders and the Botswana Police Service are blaming the country’s rise in robberies, house breakings and murders on the influx of Zimbabwean economic refugees.

Currently, more than half a dozen Zimbabweans are in custody awaiting serious criminal charges such as murder.

Amongst them, a young lady who together with her “home boys” allegedly murdered an immigrant Asian businessman. Another has been sentenced to death for murdering an expatriate Zimbabwean lawyer and her family.

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Sunday Standard June 28 – 4 July

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of June 28 - 4 July, 2020.