AN asylum seeker who lives in Scotland with his wife and baby daughter has been told by the UK Home Office to take his family back to Zimbabwe.
The man, who has asked to remain anonymous through fear of reprisals in and outside the country, is a 40-year-old former activist with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), now Zimbabwe’s official opposition. He first came to the UK 10 years ago.
He said only his elderly father still lives in the country of his birth and other family members have moved to South Africa because of political volatility in their homeland.
Last year he married a fellow countrywoman – who has lived here for more than 17 years – and they made their home in West Lothian. Their daughter was born prematurely in Edinburgh earlier this year.
Baton-wielding riot police are a common sight on the streets of the Zimbabwean capital Harare, as people are beaten for complaining about the failing policies of President Emmerson Mnangagwa – soaring prices, public services almost beyond repair and a terminally ill health service.
Martyn Day, SNP MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk, has taken up the family’s case and has written to Home Secretary Priti Patel, urging a rethink under Article 8 of the European Convention on
The man, who we are calling Malcolm, told The National: “At first I sought asylum here and they refused me several times because they said I didn’t have enough evidence. I gave as much evidence as I could.
“I got married here last year and we had a child and I did an application on human rights grounds and they refused it again saying I should return home with my three-month-old child – but my wife has the right to remain in this country.”
Malcolm said there was nothing for the family in Zimbabwe: “There’s only my elderly father there. The rest of my family’s in South Africa. They left because of the situation in Zimbabwe, where there’s a lot of turmoil.
“For the Home Office to say I should return to Zimbabwe with a four-month-old baby is crazy. When I left I lost everything there so I’ve nothing to go back to.”
He added: “Our child was born prematurely – my wife’s pregnancy was quite difficult. She’s on maternity leave for a year and she gets maternity pay so she’s having to work in other jobs to keep us going.”
In his letter, Day said Malcolm arrived here on a student visa in 2008 and had been seeking asylum since 2012, adding: “He was previously involved with African Colours, and has an active involvement with the MDC … He does not feel it would be safe for him to return because of his political involvement with the opposition party and the fear of repercussions.
“Despite [their daughter] having Scotland as her land of birth she is also being asked to leave by the Home Office, which is quite frankly inhumane, and totally wrong to deny her the right to stay within Scotland with both her parents.”
Day told The National the case typified the UK Government’s “shameful attitude” towards its “broken” immigration system.
“The Tories’ one-size-fits-all attitude to immigration is simply unworkable and inhumane; we need a flexible, common system approach,” he said. “This is a devoted family, who have made their home in the UK yet the Home Office want father and daughter to return to Zimbabwe … despite the fact that the UK is the land of her birth, the only home she has ever known, and would result in a loving family being torn apart.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “All claims are considered on their individual merits taking into account the available evidence and country
Source: The National Scots