Good Governance Africa is dismayed to report that its international CEO, Chris Maroleng, along with three colleagues, were illegally deported by the Zimbabwean government from Harare at 4.15pm on 17 August 2023.
They had been in the country for only two days, having arrived there on Tuesday, 15 August 2023. Maroleng said his team was given permission to enter the country beforehand, by officials at the Zimbabwean embassy in Pretoria.
GGA had also received a supporting letter from its Harare-based partner, Southern Africa Political and Economy Series (SAPES Trust), chaired by Prof Ibbo Mandaza.
GGA was in Zimbabwe to conduct field research on election conditions and challenges, with several interviews set up with high-profile stakeholders in Harare and Bulawayo.
Maroleng said Zimbabwean immigration officials arrived at the hotel in Bulawayo where he and his team were staying, saying that they were doing a routine inspection of their passports. “They then summoned us to their offices and asked questions about the reasons for our visit to the country. I explained our research objectives. About an hour later we were told we had to leave the country immediately. They escorted us back to the hotel and then to the airport,” Maroleng said.
“We are shocked and dismayed by this turn of events, but not surprised, as the pattern of bullying, anti-democratic behaviour by the ZANU-PF-led government – especially in the run-up to elections – is well documented,” said Maroleng.
Maroleng said he had decided, along with GGA’s partners in Zimbabwe, to lodge a legal appeal against the decision to eject the team. “There were no proper deportation processes followed. The chief immigration officer could also not offer us any reasons for the ejection. We were simply kicked out of the country,” he said.