Zimbabwe should brace for 500 more nationals who will be deported from Botswana after facing challenges due to strict COVID-19 lockdown regulations instituted in that country.
Following a 28 day lockdown imposed by the Botswana government and a proposal for a six-month state of emergency, a number of Zimbabweans in that country could no longer secure menial jobs, which sustained them and were faced with imminent hunger
. A number opted to be deported back home to Zimbabwe. According to VOA some had gone for shopping when the lockdown became effective and were now stuck in Botswana.
In the past few days the Plumtree border post has become a hive of activity as Zimbabweans poured in from Botswana.
They are being screened at Plumtree High School, which is now serving as a coronavirus command centre. On Tuesday, 87 Zimbabweans were deported, bringing the number to a total of 368 deportees.
The Zimbabwean ambassador to Botswana Batirai Henry Mukonoweshuro, in a letter, said some of the deportees had sought assistance from the embassy to return to Zimbabwe.
“Some have been surrendering themselves to the police and district commissioners in their areas of stay,” he said.
Mukonoweshuro said after consultation and engagement with the embassy, the Botswana government had agreed to provide transport to facilitate the repatriation of the Zimbabwean immigrants to Plumtree border post.
“In this regard the government of Zimbabwe should expect to receive 500 deportees from Botswana.
“About 230 people have already surrendered themselves to the police and district commissioner in Gaborone.
“These were expected to be deported as of (Thursday) and more continue to register themselves with the embassy,” the ambassador wrote.
Mukonoweshuro called on relevant ministries to make necessary arrangements for the deportees.
“It is recommended that arrangements be made by the relevant ministries and departments to facilitate the reception of these nationals at the border to prepare for their transportation from the border to the facilities provided for their quarantine,” he said