I was released from Morton Hall Detention Centre on Friday the 15th of February. The amount of support and good wishes I received from everyone whilst in detention was not only astounding but very heartwarming. It was heartwarming because those who know me were able to influence their families, friends and acquaintances to sign the petition set up by ASSIST and it then reached so many others in the UK and around the world. I was told of a family that had grandparents, parents and grandchildren signing the petition. This is incredible and very moving!
Thank you so much and words cannot express how profoundly grateful I am to be in the company of such a supportive community who rise to the occasion when it really matters and at a time when I felt completely helpless and powerless against two very powerful governmental systems, the UK Home Office and the Zimbabwean government.
This support would not have been possible if I had not been living in a democratic country like Britain. Democracy in this country may not be perfect but it guarantees freedom of expression and the acceptance of alternative views. It is this and the massive support from people in this country and abroad enabled me to be given a reprieve from imminent deportation.
The same cannot be said about my home country. Zimbabweans don’t enjoy freedom of expression. When people protested in July last year when they felt that election results were massively rigged to favour the ruling party ZANU (PF), the response from the authorities was heavy handed and resulted in the fatal shooting of twelve unarmed Zimbabweans by the army. In January this year more unarmed protesters were gunned down by the army following uprisings triggered by a 300% increase in fuel price. Many of those who have dared criticise the government live in fear of being arrested, beaten, tortured.
Given the appalling human rights situation in my country, I respectfully ask the British Home Secretary the following: PLEASE MR JAVID, STOP ALL DEPORTATIONS TO ZIMBABWE! Many Zimbabweans will be more than happy to return once the rule of law and human rights of all citizens are respected. But right now we live in fear. Fear of what would happen to us if we were returned, and fear for our loved ones who are in Zimbabwe.
Finally, I have so many people to thank for supporting me: Gill Furniss, my local MP and her staff, MP Paul Blomfield, former lord mayor and councillor Jackie Drayton, my solicitor, employees and volunteers at ASSIST Sheffield, everyone at City Of Sanctuary, FURD, The Sunday Centre, Sheffield Conversation Club, SYMAAG, Students at Sheffield University, members of my local church at St Peter’s Ellesmere Road, volunteers and members of all the organisations and charities that I’m associated with in Sheffield, my family in Zimbabwe, my family in the United Kingdom, my very valued friends in and outside of Sheffield and especially the thousands of people who have never met me but were moved by my plight to support the petition.
To read about Victor's detention and find out how you can join the campaign against deportations to Zimbabwe go to Act now to help keep Victor safe