By Benjamin Mpofu
In a recent article written on the 22nd July, the poorly edited website called Zimeye alleged that Zimbabwe’s ambassador to the U.K., Christian Katsande, refused to sign travel documents for four individuals due to his ties with them.
This is nothing short of a lie whose short legs can be unveiled by any thinking journalist interested in reporting facts. Not only is the report misleading but a clear campaign to target the Embassy to evoke unjustified outrage from only unthinking readers.
However, it is almost impossible to expect such a discredited and shameless publication to have the sense to verify what it reports. One supposes that it simply is not enough to be a known click bate site whose relevance on issues of significance is as limited as the sun in Britain.
Nevertheless, this report will try to do the good work of journalism by simply reporting the facts in a balanced and fair manner.
It is commonly known that the U.K government agreed with the many African governments to begin to accept deportations of individuals who will have had committed offences in line with the UK Borders Act of 2007 and subsequent legislation.
Resultant bilateral agreements ensured that the U.K would make provision for an allowance for a bureaucrat from target countries to support the U.K. Home Office’s verification process. The U.K through the Home Office identifies the candidates through its database of people in holding cells, asylum reporting stations, prison centres etc.
Those people are then interviewed by the Home Office alongside the seconded bureaucrat from the country in question. That bureaucrat then traces the identity of the detainee and when a record is found the process for deportation begins.
In instances where the detainee has lost his passport, the U.K. government then requests in writing for a Temporary Travel Document. The Embassy then directs the Consulate to process the TTD.
The Ambassador’s signature is not required on these documents, contrary to claims by Zimeye. It is not the duty of the Embassy, under this arrangement, to refuse or let alone select candidates.
What makes the allegations made by Zimeye more of a personal vindictive attack on the Ambassador rather than actual journalism is the missing depth of analysis on such an important issue.
For instance, the Guardian has reported on the disproportionate targeting of Jamaicans for deportation from UK in a 17 July 2021 issue. The report also highlighted how nationals from Ghana and Nigeria are also removed significantly more often than the overall average.
In addition, another set of controversial Home Office chartered deportation flights to both countries are expected next month. This is an issue of international racism one could argue because no European countries have received such deportees.
So instead of the misplaced focus exhibited by the wretched of earth website Zimeye more probing questions should be asked to the Home Office to avert another Windrush scandal.
To conclude, Zimeye was simply trolling and unashamedly so. Instead of focusing on the real issue of institutional racism. They chose to tell a lie all in the name of earning readership.
It is this type of journalism if one can even call it that, that is nothing but absolute gutter. Zimeye should be seen for what it truly is a gossip website with no eye for detail, accuracy or truth. □