Selibe Phikwe station commander Meshack Pulenyane says Zimbabweans are gathered at his office this morning demanding that they be allowed to go back home.
Pulenyane shares that 46 Zimbos with others still arriving at his station say they are starving here in Botswana and now want to return to Zimbabwe. Early last month about 40 Zimbabweans, some of who had just arrived in the area, were found crammed in a two-roomed house in Selebi Phikwe and indications are that some of them are among the group that now wants to go back home. But Superintendent Pulenyane says the majority them are in the country legally while only a few did not have official documents.
“They say they have been here since the 12th March 2020 and I do not know why they are demanding permission from me but I have asked the District Commissioner to come and intervene on the issue,” he said, adding that some Zimbabbwean nationals are actually pleading to be arrested and put in jail where they hope to have regular meals on a daily basis. “Lock us up sir if you have to. As long as you give us fod in there then we are good to go,” they are quoted as having told the police officer.
On the backdrop of such revelations, Foreign Affairs minister Unity Dow says they have actually been in discussions with both President Mokgweetsi Masisi and Defence minister Kagiso Mmusi on how to deal with the Zimbabwean nationals as welfare packages given out by government are only restricted to Botswana citizens. She acknowledged awareness of the implications on excluding the foreign nationals and promised that soon they will share conclusions on the matter. “They are our neighbours and we have had relations with them as we shall continue to have relations with them post Covid-19. We shall surely make a decision and share the details. Note that there are those who truly want to go back to their families because when they left Zimbabwe they never imagined they would be locked down in Botswana. They left some things unfinished there. But of course there are those who don’t want to go back as they feel their lives are better off when they are this side,” the minister said this Tuesday morning.