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UK deportation of Zimbabweans, a ploy
Posted: Monday, December 20, 2004

By Rangarirai Shoko,

At a glance, reports that Britain intends to deport thousands of Zimbabweans it had lured in the last five years as proof of political repression in Zimbabwe, do not invite instant suspicion.

After all, British authorities justified the move perfectly within the country's sovereign rights by saying most of those targeted had been found unqualified for asylum which they had sought, claiming political persecution at home.

And Zimbabweans back home, anyway, have no collective sympathies beyond family bonds for the "failed refugees" to be suspicious of the British move.

The asylum seekers, instead, are generally viewed as accomplices in London's campaign of destabilisation against the country over its land policies.

The "would-be refugees" were lured to Britain with money and other rewards in schemes that involved some local opposition parties and groups, to "flesh" the former colonial power's "heart-rending" lies of persecution by the Zimbabwe Government against its political opponents.

This was meant to help London build vital international consensus in fora such as the United Nations to deal with "a rogue regime" in Zimbabwe that had stepped out of line of accepted global norms of state behaviour.

While some of the Zimbabwean "would-be refugees" in Britain were unwitting recruits in the plots against the motherland, the majority were willing tools of the former colonial power's destabilisation schemes, which have had a devastating economic and political impact on the country.

Hence, the little sympathy the majority of their compatriots who stayed behind, and endured the poisonous fruits of their political treachery in Britain, feel for them in their deportation predicament.

But, if analysed critically, there appears to be new, less obvious sinister political motives behind the deportations.

Deeper under the surface, the deportations appear more linked to parliamentary elections next March, than the unsuitability for "political asylum" of the targeted Zimbabweans which Britain claims to have suddenly discovered.

Theory number one is that London, eager to prop up the waning political fortunes of its proxy parties and groups in Zimbabwe ahead of the poll, is deporting the country's citizens en masse to beef up votes for the opposition, assuming erroneously that all the returnees were anti-Government.

That the announcement of the mass deportations comes hard on the heels of a prolonged "consultative" visit to London by opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai raises credible suspicions.

This is particularly so because Britain knew, from five years ago when it began to encourage Zimbabweans to "flee persecution" at home that these were not real asylum seekers in the mould of members of Iraq's Baath party fleeing American and British thuggery in their country.

Instead, they were simply the "flesh" to the monstrous lie, peddled with such puzzling expansiveness and intensity around the world, of political persecutions in Zimbabwe on a holocaust scale.

The other theory, on the deportations, is that among the returnees would be some planted and paid by Britain to carry out subversive activities, including possible killings, in the run-up to the March elections to discredit the polls.

With its proxy local political groups, including the MDC, in tatters politically ahead of the elections, London's options in Zimbabwe's power game appear to have narrowed to just disrupting the poll even preventing it taking place to buy time for its surrogates to regroup.

This is where some of the "deportees" would come in handy, and explains why Tsvangirai is calling, unusual to most Zimbabweans, for the March elections to be postponed to a later date.

All along the MDC, confident of winning elections, has wanted the polls to be brought forward instead.

The upcoming elections in Zimbabwe are critical for Britain in many ways, but mainly that a poor showing by the MDC which is almost certain will sever its remaining colonial leverage on the country.

The party is London's only remaining lever of influence in Zimbabwe, and its severance through a drubbing in the upcoming parliamentary elections is a daunting political prospect for Britain, which it fears could open up similar challenges to its colonial authority and prestige elsewhere.

All Britain's so-far-failed attempts to deal with what it regards as a "rogue" ex-colony have revolved around effecting regime change via elections by deploying a plethora of proxy opposition parties and groups.

The main one among these is the MDC, which British Prime Minister Tony Blair earlier this year openly admitted to working with to further his country's, not Zimbabweans', interests.

But the plot, despite being well financed, and loudly projected internally and around the world, has failed because its agenda lacked real substance; just a philosophical promise of post-regime change prosperity in Zimbabwe anchored on imagined donor financial and investment generosity.

This proved no match for the tangible and empowering attraction of land reforms proffered by the Government, on the other hand.

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