Witting or unwittingly, on 18 November 2017, the Zimbabwean people’s march contributed to the rejuvenation of power and control within ZANU (PF). Variously dubbed the “Mugabe must fall march”, or the “solidarity march”, the Zimbabwean populace as willing participants in a pre-hatched orchestrated plan to which they were not privy to, subsequently sung, danced and bayed for Mugabe’s ouster.
Further to a Freedom of Information Request made on 24 November 2017, by Response of 20 December 2017, the Home Office have briefly responded as follows:
“Thank you for your e-mail of 24 November 2017, in which you ask for information about country information and returns arrangements regarding asylum seekers from Zimbabwe. Your request has been handled as a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
In response to your specific questions:
Have Home Office Caseworkers currently been instructed to pause in their consideration and decision-making of Zimbabwean protection claims pending publication of a relevant Country Information Policy Note in relation to those opposed to the Zimbabwean Government?
Where internal Home office consideration of protection claims continues, which Country Information Notes are Home Office Caseworkers taking into account when considering claims from Zimbabwean nationals fearing return to Zimbabwe on account of opposition to the Zimbabwean Government?
When will a relevant updated Country Information Note be published by the Home Office in relation to consideration of protection claims from those opposed to the Zimbabwean Government?
We are planning to update this CPIN early in the new year.
Has agreement been reached between the UK Government and the Zimbabwean Government in relation to whether the Zimbabwean authorities will agree to issue Emergency Travel Documents for non-consenting undocumented Zimbabwean returnees who are without valid national passports?
No. The UK government has not yet sought to discuss nor review the emergency travel document process we currently have in place with the government of Zimbabwe”.
It is clear that in relation to claims from those opposed to the Zimbabwean government, the relevant Country Information Report which Home office Caseworkers are currently taking into account is still the Country policy and information note: opposition to the government, Zimbabwe, January 2017. The Information Report is however to be updated early in the coming year. Meanwhile, negative decisions affecting particular claimants will be expected to incorporate the events of November 2017 and currently in Zimbabwe: the Home Office can have regard to other reliable sources for current background information.
It is also important to note that it is current Home Office policy to take removal action in relation to Zimbabwean failed claimants as there is no policy against enforced removals to Zimbabwe. Currently however, failed asylum claimants who do not agree to return to Zimbabwe and are without valid Zimbabwean national passports or valid travel documents still seem in practice irremovable.
A parent may be entitled to stay in the United Kingdom in circumstances where they do not qualify for leave in their own right but by “latching” onto the rights of a qualifying child who has resided in the UK continuously for over 7years.
The most relevant considerations in this regards are Paragraph 276ADE(1)(iv) of the Immigration Rules and Section 117B(6) of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.
On 21 November 2017, Robert Gabriel Mugabe resigned as the President of Zimbabwe, after maintaining a grip on power for 37 years.
Following that resignation , the burning questions relating to the future political democratic processes and upholding of the rule of law in Zimbabwe are matters evidently up for debate, perhaps to become clearer as time unfolds.
For now the biting question for UK based asylum claimants is this: how does Mugabe’s downfall impact upon UK based Zimbabwean asylum claimants and failed asylum seekers?