By Anyway Yotamu.
More than 130 Zimbabweans were voluntarily repatriated from Dukwi Refugee Camp in Botswana in a tripartite partnership exercise involving the government of Zimbabwe, Botswana and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The exercise was conducted from the 9th to the 14th of December 2019. This was said by the Acting Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Mr Joel Muzuwa in a statement to the media. The exercise followed an outcome of an assessment that concluded that the Zimbabwean nationals no longer needed extended international protection in view of the prevailing political stability in the country.
“The Government of Zimbabwe would like to express its appreciation to the government of the Republic of Botswana and UNHCR for facilitating the return of the Zimbabwean nationals.
“The repatriation process proceeded smoothly without any challenges. Although 135 returnees had registered for voluntary repatriation, a woman who had just given birth could not receive the required medical clearance to join the group. The woman and her three children will join the groups that will be repatriated in January 2020”, he said.
Muzuwa urged Zimbabwean citizens who are still at Dukwi Refugee Camp in Botswana to register for voluntary repatriation and return home before the 31st of December adding that by the 31st of December 2019, Zimbabwe’s nationals who will not have registered will become illegal immigrants and will be deported to Zimbabwe under the immigration laws of the government of Botswana.
On arrival in Zimbabwe, the UNHCR and the Zimbabwean government has offered the returnees settling allowances, three months food rations, three months medical supplies to those under treatment, medical certificates to those on medical programmes and transport to their homes.
The government also issued birth certificates and national identity documents to the returnees. About 60 percent of the returnees are children who were born at the Refugee Camp in Botswana.