Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has chided his countrymen who sought asylum in Britain, saying they were given money to turn their backs on the country.
The 90-year-old leader claimed the British Government had appealed to him to help repatriate Zimbabweans whose asylum claims were rejected.
He told mourners at the burial of a top army commander on Thursday that the current crop of Zimbabweans was not patriotic compared to those who took part in the war of liberation.
“If you are offered some small money, you turn against the government, claiming the country is badly governed,” President Mugabe said.
We issued them with passports, which they then used to travel to Britain to claim we were out to imprison them and yet fail to appreciate they were using (President) Mugabe’s passport.”
He said Britain had hoped that by offering Zimbabweans asylum, its claims that he was a dictator would be regarded as the truth.
“The British now want our help to process deportation documents for Zimbabweans. Why would they want to send them back to the same oppressive government?” President Mugabe said. At the height of the country’s economic problems, around 2000, tens of thousands of people fled overseas while others moved to South Africa and Botswana.
There are no reliable statistics of Zimbabweans in the diaspora but some research has put them at over three million.
President Mugabe always pokes fun at the exiles, especially those in the United Kingdom, saying they jostled to do menial jobs in foreign lands.
Last year, in the run-up to the general election, he also scoffed at Zimbabweans based in South Africa, saying he was ashamed of them. “We feel ashamed of the influx of Zimbabweans in South Africa. If you go to their hotels, there are Zimbabweans all over,” he said.
News adopted from Daily Nation!