Tendayi Goneso Mark McGowan Aaron Barschak in Starbucks with Police and Fireman
Tendayi Goneso Mark McGowan and Aaron Barschak Effigy Burning attempt
Mark McGowan and Aaron Barschak's attempt to burn an effigy of Liam Byrne the Minister of State for Immigration and MP for Hodge Hill, Birmingham, in a protest against the deportation of asylum seekers to area's such as the Congo, Zimbabwe, Darfur, Iran and Afghanistan, to name but a few was shut down by the authorities in Birmingham the effigy was actually confiscated in a tussel by a Birmingham City Council official. Aaron Barschak was dragged of stage late in the evening by two security guards. Police and the fire brigade thwarted any attempt to burn the effigy in the City Center earlier on in the day.
Tendayi Goneso came along to the event. i have never met a more beautiful passive quietly spoken man in my life. What is happening to Tendayi is so incredibly tragic that it makes so sad i believe this world.
for more info
mark mcgowan 07944533010
Right now dozens of Darfuris are being rounded up for deportation, with about 60 asked to report to immigration officials within the next 10 days.
By Nigel Morris and Ben Russell
Published: 23 March 2007
When Tendayi Goneso fled Zimbabwe fearing death at the hands of Robert Mugabe's brutal henchmen, he thought Britain would offer him sanctuary from the violence tearing his country apart.
He grieved alone when his wife was murdered by the regime, and has endured four years apart from his three children.
In exile the 34-year-old accountant, who is recovering from lung cancer, has become a leading campaigner for democracy and the overthrow of Mr Mugabe.
But as the political situation in Zimbabwe has spiralled toward chaos, the British government has withdrawn his benefits and left him with the threat of deportation hanging over his head.
Yesterday ministers were forced to promise an emergency statement on the crisis in Zimbabwe, where life expectancy has fallen from 60 to less than 40. But the Government was accused of failing to match its words with compassion for thousands of Mr Goneso's compatriots who hoped Britain would give them shelter.
There is little doubt Mr Goneso would be a marked man if he was forced to return home. But the Home Office has already thrown out one asylum application, appears to have lost track of a second and has cut off all his financial support.
Today, Mr Goneso relies on handouts to survive and lives in constant fear of being evicted from his flat.
He said last night: "I don't know how I would cope if I lost my case - killing myself would be an option. I don't think I could stand the humiliation and torture if I was made to go back.
"It's humiliating and degrading to go to charity. It doesn't seem fair - Britain doesn't appear to be practising what it preaches. They speak of offering good hospitality and supporting democracy. But the system has been cruel to me."
Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat leader, said: "The particular circumstances of Tendayi Goneso make a compelling case for allowing him to stay. Simply condemning the Mugabe government is not enough. We should do what we can to protect Zimbabweans from harm."
Clare Short, the former international development secretary who brought Mr Goneso's case to light, said his treatment was shameful. "Britain is supporting sanctions on Mugabe and here is a decent, genuine political refugee being treated with such enormous cruelty in Britain. We know it is difficult to intervene, but when we have people in this country, we should treat them better than this."
Mr Goneso built a successful career running several pubs, but became involved with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), providing activists with shelter and transport.
Mugabe loyalists took brutal retribution, savagely beating him and threatening to close his businesses. In 2003 he fled, leaving his wife, Chiedza, and their children and ended up staying with a friend in the West Midlands.
Soon after he claimed asylum, he heard terrible news from home. Government militiamen looking for him directed their bloodlust on his wife, attacking her so ferociously that she died in hospital from head injuries.
"I felt distraught to have a loved one buried when I wasn't there. It was a nightmare - I couldn't believe it. I still miss her," he said.
Mr Goneso is now prominent in the MDC's British group, chairing its Walsall branch, and taking a leading role in fund-raising and demonstrations against the Zimbabwean regime.
"When my wife was killed I was so angry with the whole system in Zimbabwe. I feel Mugabe has got away with murder. He may not be killing people directly but indirectly, he is killing people by the way he has wrecked Zimbabwe's economy and health system.
Mr Goneso's first asylum application was rejected after three years, but he made a second immediately afterwards, arguing that his activism with the MDC made it impossible for him to return. He had heard nothing until a letter this month told him his financial support was being terminated. Now he relies on charity from the Red Cross and fears eviction. And if the Home Office wins a case going through the courts over the status of Zimbabwean asylum-seekers, he could be ordered to leave.
He only speaks to his three children, who are living with his parents, about once a fortnight.
The Refugee Council said: "The Zimbabwean community is quite political and want to go back. These are not people coming here because they fancy a trip to Britain. They want to return, but are terrified to do so."
A Home Office spokeswoman said: "The Government categorically condemns human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. But that does not mean every Zimbabwean is at real risk of mistreatment. The asylum decision-making and appeal processes exist to determine the conditions an individual applicant would face on return to their country of origin and whether that individual is in need of international protection. We grant asylum or other appropriate protection to the Zimbabweans who need it, but expect those who do not to return home."
Asylum-seekers caught in legal limbo
Tendayi Goneso is among thousands of Zimbabweans living in legal limbo in Britain, but facing the threat of being sent home.
The fate of Zimbabwean asylum-seekers has been the subject of a protracted legal battle.
A man known as AA won the latest stage in a test case against deportation in the Court of Appeal two weeks ago. His case now returns to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal.
The Home Office maintains that some deportations to Zimbabwe would be safe and all asylum applications should be treated on a case-by-case basis. But AA's supporters argue all removals should be halted until its political situation improves. They say the mere fact of being expelled from the UK leaves a rejected asylum-seeker vulnerable to persecution.
Some 1,000 Zimbabwean asylum-seekers lost their applications last year and face deportation, pending the outcome of the test case.
"Leonard", a maths teacher who fled after being threatened by government supporters, said: "The Zimbabwe government will be suspicious of people who have been active in the MDC in Britain... I would say intimidation is almost 100 per cent certain."