Returning refugees express confidence in new political administration

By ZBC Reporter
GOVERNMENT is continuing with the process of repatriating Zimbabweans who volunteered to return home after spending 11 years at Dukwi Refugee Camp in Botswana.
After spending 11 years at Dukwi Refugee Camp in Botswana, 59 more returnees arrived in the country on Thursday through the Plumtree Border Post in the company of Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Botswana, His Excellency Batsiraishe Mukonoweshuro and Botswana officials. The first group of 132 people was repatriated in December last year.
Ambassador Mukonoweshuro said the process of repatriating over 700 people, most of whom had fled the country in 2008, follows the Bi-National Commission discussions between Zimbabwe and Botswana last year.
“We are happy that we are working together with the government of Botswana. We have been meeting with my counterparts on the issue of Dukwi. The issue was at the centre of the binational commission discussions held in Harare last year,” said Ambassador Mukonoweshuro.
In his welcome remarks, the Minister of State for Matabeleland South Province, Abednico Ncube assured the returnees that they will be rendered the necessary support by government, while Botswana’s Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security Director for Refugees Management and Welfare, Ms Thobo Letlhage expressed optimism that the returnees will easily be integrated.
“On behalf of the government I want to welcome you all back home. The department of social welfare will be here to give you start packs, and transport to take you to your respective homes has been organised,” said Ncube.
“We have brought with us school reports for the children who will be enrolling at the local institutions. We have also brought medical reports for the returnees with various ailments so that they can continue to receive treatment,” said Letlhage.
Some of the returnees who spoke to the ZBC News said they were excited to be back home.
“It feels good to be back home after so many years. We have the hope and belief that what we experienced in 2008 is something that we should not live to see again,” said one of the returnees.
All those who have volunteered to return to Zimbabwe will receive food hampers, ZWL$1 000 and will be assisted to secure national identity documents by government.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, on the other hand, will give each returnee 300 United States dollars.
Meanwhile, Botswana will be deporting those who do not have valid reasons to remain at the refugee camp.