Deportations to put pressure on Mugabe?

A new attempt is to be made on Thursday to deport Vigil supporter Shamiso Kofi despite the violent failure of the first attempt earlier this month. There is speculation that the UK and South Africa are making a concerted attempt to deport Zimbabweans to put pressure on the Mugabe regime.

Shamiso in red top and denim jacket with Tony Dykes of ACTSA and Thobile Gwebu at ACTSA's 'Stop the Violence in Zimbabwe' protest on Independence Day 18/4/2011
Shamiso in red top and denim jacket with Tony Dykes of ACTSA and Thobile Gwebu at ACTSA’s ‘Stop the Violence in Zimbabwe’ protest on Independence Day 18/4/2011

Shamiso is one of the first Zimbabweans to be targeted for forcible return since the UK ended its moratorium on sending back failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers. It comes amid reports from South Africa that hundreds of Zimbabweans are being sent back.

Shamiso, who was returned to Yarl’s Wood detention centre, told us she went through hell during the abortive attempt to deport her and feels like dying at the thought of another attempt to forcibly remove her. She had to receive medical attention after violence on the plane at Heathrow Airport prompted the captain to order her to be taken off.

That attempt to deport Shamiso was on a Kenyan Airlines plane. The new attempt will be on a Virgin Atlantic Airways flight to Nairobi. The Vigil has appealed to the Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson not to co-operate with the deportation to Zimbabwe since he is on public record as being opposed to Mugabe.

The Vigil is urging supporters to phone Virgin Atlantic Airways to protest. See: for what you can do to help.

The Vigil is dismayed by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s short-sighted betrayal of yet another principle by filling in the Deputy Agriculture Minister vacancy created by Mugabe’s illegal refusal to swear in Roy Bennett. Tsvangirai says MDC supporters are suffering because they are not represented in the Agriculture Ministry. But what are any deputy ministers in Zanu (PF)-controlled ministries achieving?

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