Zimbabwe’s National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) performed a national census in April 2022, and it revealed that Botswana is home to the second-largest population of Zimbabwean emigrants, after South Africa.
According to Zimstat’s findings, the country with the highest percentage of Zimbabweans is South Africa, where there are 773 246 Zimbabweans (85.07%). Botswana is second with 47 928 Zimbabweans (5%), and the United Kingdom (UK) is third with 23 166 Zimbabweans (3%). A million Zimbabweans, according to Zimstat, now live outside of Zimbabwe.
“The data indicates that the most emigrants from Zimbabwe were based in the Southern African region and in particular South Africa with 773,246 and Botswana with 47,928. For overseas countries, the United Kingdom had 23,166 emigrants,” states the research. Out of the 47 928 Zimbabweans living in Botswana, the survey shows that 28, 680 are men and 19, 248 are women.
Surprisingly, the leaders of Botswana and South Africa, the two nations most burdened by Zimbabwean emigrants worldwide, are urging the easing of sanctions imposed by the West on members of the ruling party for alleged violations of human rights and electoral fraud.
President Masisi, who recently paid a state visit to Zimbabwe, demanded that the sanctions the West had placed on members of the ruling party for alleged human rights abuses and electoral fraud be lifted. Masisi stated to reporters at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport that Zimbabweans are suffering as a result of the targeted sanctions.
“President Mnangagwa and I have a very strong friendship, you must know it and you must see it. We just came from our elective congress and ZANU PF was well-represented. We belong to the same revolutionary Southern African movement and that’s why we call for the removal of sanctions as Zimbabwe’s sanctions are Botswana’s sanctions. These sanctions must go,” declared president Masisi.
President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa called for the lifting of Western sanctions against Zimbabwe in his address to the United Nations General Assembly’s 76th session in 2021. “We demand that the sanctions that have paralyzed Zimbabwe and its economy be lifted,” said president Ramaphosa.
Whether it’s flattery or genuine comradeship, appeasement by presidents Ramaphosa and Masisi to Mnangagwa has never been the wisest course of action. For the time being, disgruntled Zimbabweans will continue to migrate to Botswana and South Africa in search of better opportunities.