Monday, October 31, 2005


Lecturer Arnold Moyo (not his real name), 31, explained why he currently lives and works illegally in neighbouring Botswana.

I left Zimbabwe in January of this year because I could not get a job. The year before I had completed a MBA degree at the National University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo but still could not find employment.
Arnold lives and works illegally in neighbouring Botswana. The reason why I opted to come to Botswana is because they do not require that Zimbabweans have a visa. It is also nearer to Bulawayo - Zimbabwe's second city where I am from. My journey was easy. I took a bus, public transport, to Francistown in Botswana. The authorities at the Plumtree border post were fine. They stamped my passport, allowing me to stay for 90 days. Within only two weeks I had found a job lecturing at a college here in Francistown. Generally I cannot complain. I am now earning around 2,000 pula a month through lecturing and various extra part-time jobs. Sometimes I provide consultancy services for companies. There are also many people studying via distance learning courses here and so I tutor a lot of them.
Viewing the current situation in Zimbabwe, I don't want to go back. But if things changed then I would. Home is best. It is better to be at home with your relatives and friends. Arnold travelled home for this year's election but was unable to vote as his name was not on the register. I am married and we have one son. He is 10-years-old. I miss them. Especially certain times, like today which is pay day. I wish I was able to take them out and make them happy. Instead all I can do is send them money, and they really depend on that money now.
I travel home when I can but it is difficult because my days are over now - I am here illegally. I hitchhike when I return as public transport is too risky. Thankfully because the policemen are broke I am able to take advantage of the situation and bribe my way. To get through roadblocks I pay 20 pula. The Botswana border is all right as the guys at the gate are not that tight. It is very easy to bribe your way through. However once I am on the Zimbabwean side I have to jump the fence. But there are certain areas where no-one checks and so with colleagues we climb over the fence together. We do not go alone. I stay about a week and then come back the same way. It is very different here and I would rather be home. But generally when you look at it, some things are better. One is able to actually plan, to sit down and budget for even up to three months at a time. Prices don't go up.
Arnold wants the Botswana government to stop its citizens from taking advantage of ZimbabweansBeing a foreigner in a foreign land though, it worries me. At any time I could be forced to leave. I am always worried about that situation. I share a room with four others, all Zimbabweans. They are not professionals and take whatever work they can get. Unfortunately they, like a lot of other Zimbabweans, are subjected to harassment by Botswana citizens. Often they will work for almost a month. Then just before they are due to be paid someone arrives to check their work permit papers. As they don't have the right papers they then get deported. This is not fair and it is really a problem. Motswanas are taking advantage.
They are the ones that hire these people, without papers, and then they are the ones that get away without paying for their services when the Zimbabweans are caught and deported. I think that the people who hire the illegals should pay the fine when and if their workers are deported.

Human rights organisations should address this, and so raise the eyebrows of the Botswana government.


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