By Trust Matsilele.


A former Zimpapers journalist, David Mpofu has been detained for five years at Jerald Estate Prison 20 km outside Francistown , following the rejection of his asylum application by the Botswana government in 2002.

Mpofu who wor

ked for the government controlled daily paper, The Herald before he became an editor of the now defunct Plumtree Post is refusing to be returned to Zimbabwe as he fears that he his life is danger following death threats by state security agents.

According to his relative, James Mushandu who escaped from the prison last March, Mpofu had opted to stay in detention for such a long period despite poor living conditions as he fear that he might get killed.

“When I was arrested and send to Jerald Estate Prison in 2004, I met David Mpofu there and he told me he has been there since 2002 the time his asylum application failed and he says he can not go back to Zimbabwe as he fears to be killed”, confirmed James Mushandu.

Mashandu said Mpofu’s health had been greatly compromised because of harsh prison conditions.

Botswana is known for its inhuman treatment of illegal immigrants and in the past some illegal immigrants were reported to have been forced to masturbate by state security officials.

According to Mashandu, Mpofu left Zimbabwe in 2002 after exposing some vote rigging in the Plumtree Post.

After publishing the story he received numerous death threats from state security members and ZANU PF supporters forcing him flee to Botswana and seek political refugee which he was denied.

Zimbabwe is one of the leading countries whose journalists have fled the country due to political instability and most being victims of former Minister of Information and Publicity, Jonathan Moyo’s draconian media laws Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and Public Order Security Act (POSA).

Mashandu said the prison, which also a houses common criminal is known for gruesome activities being perpetrated by prison officials on inmates.
“Shaban Ramadan from Burundi was shot dead by one of prison officials as he tried to escape from Jerald Estate Prison since he wanted to go and try to apply for political asylum elsewhere,” said Mashandu.

Zimbabwe currently tops the list of countries that have forced the largest number of journalists into exile.
More than 48 Zimbabwean journalists had escaped persecution by the government between July 2001 and this month.
This accounts for about 20 percent of the total global number of scribes forced to flee their countries in the past six years.

Botswana is one of the countries with a bigger population of Zimbabweans who have fled persecution and economic meltdown caused by Mugabe’s failed policies. In this country there is a voluntary repatriation if one’s asylum applications fails but if one opt to stay in the country he /she is send to Jerald estate prison for detention until one feels safe to go back to own home country.

Efforts to get a comment from Botswana officials were unsuccessful as the officials refused to answer questions from this reporter.

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *