Zimbos rank 3rd among UK asylum seekers
Zimbabwe has the third highest number of asylum seekers in the United Kingdom, after strife-torn Afghanistan and Iraq, according to figures released by the UK’s Home Office last week.
The figures were for the 10-year period from 2001 to 2010.
According to the figures released in the House of Lords, a total of 29 850 Zimbabweans had sought asylum in the UK since 2001.
Afghanistan topped the list with 34 715 followed by Iraq with 34 215.
Zimbabwe experienced unprecedented political and economic problems since 2000 which forced Zimbabweans into exile.
Although most of the asylum seekers claimed they would be tortured on their return, it was believed most of them left due to economic rather than political reasons.
The highest number of asylum seekers from Zimbabwe was 7 655 in 2002 followed by 5 600 in 2009.
Britain is currently in the process of deporting all failed asylum seekers as it argues that the political situation in Zimbabwe has changed immensely since the formation of the inclusive government two years ago.
President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF was forced into a power-sharing deal with its political nemesis, the MDC-T led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC then led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara after a disputed presidential run-off poll in 2008.
The coalition government has stabilised the economy and managed to cool political temperatures.
But tension is mounting amid calls by President Mugabe that the country should go for elections this year.
The MDC-T says the environment is not yet conducive for elections citing cases of politically-motivated violence flaring across the country.
However, unlike Zimbabwe, there is real war in the other two countries topping the list, that is, Afghanistan and Iraq.