THE letter by Leslie Vollenhoven “Why bother about emigrés?” (Independent, October 17) makes sad reading. The main reason why refugees here give false names is because of fear of reprisals against friends and relatives back home. The
y write factual things that interested individuals there can connect with people and places and possibly cause harm.
The second reason is that it is not only Zimbabwe where we have the CIO.
We also have the long arm of the “law” with us here in the UK and it is very easy to be found out because we are few here. You only need to hear one syllable from another “Zimbo” to recognise them. Even features and, especially women, the hairstyle and dress can easily give them away. You might think I am making this up but the national MDC branch was recently infiltrated to such an extent that I don’t think they have fully recovered. I am not one of the boys because my conscience wouldn’t let me do that.
My friend uses the word “foreigner” to describe exiled Zimbabweans, which is very sad. In fact, this person after using the forex we send every month to keep him alive, is biting the hand that feeds him.
Are we going to be welcome back given the madness that is going on there now? We are mainly economic refugees here because we could not keep up with the corruption. I can tell you that I was doing well but for the above reasons, I cannot divulge details. I can guess the kickbacks we used to give friends to get contracts in those days would be laughed at today.
However, let me give a word of advice to my friend. We currently have an authoritarian regime, which means every man hates its leader. He said he could not challenge the local shop which offers bad service. Well, you could sue them for providing bad service or organise other residents to boycott their service. But understandably you cannot because it is owned by a political heavyweight or you know you won’t get justice in the courts.
I think now you see clearly where the problem lies. The establishment is there not for you as a citizen. We live where the government is there for the people. The wealth brought through invention and colonisation was wisely used. Although there is corruption, you will be hard-pressed to cite examples.
So, I am comfortable wherever I am on earth. What is important is justice for everyone. As long as there is no justice there will always be unnecessary suffering.