The Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation notes with deep concern the misinformation and distorted reports on social media platforms purporting that the Government of Botswana has embarked on forceful deportation of Zimbabwean nationals.

The assertion being made is completely inaccurate. The fact of the matter is that the recent repatriation exercise was undertaken jointly with the Government of Zimbabwe, following requests from Zimbabwean nationals who wanted to be assisted to return home amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the lockdown measures put in place.

In the spirit of solidarity and the excellent relations between the two countries, on 16th April 2020, two hundred and fifty-five (255) Zimbabwean nationals were voluntarily repatriated from Botswana by road and received by Zimbabwean authorities at the Ramokgwebana Border Post.

In appreciating the consequences of the lockdown on movement restrictions and in keeping with the spirit of the exercise, none of the repatriated individuals was charged for breaching immigration rules.

The Ministry wishes to underscore that Botswana and Zimbabwe remain committed to work closely together in responding to the outbreak of COVID-19 and mitigating its impact on both countries, as well as, on the livelihood of their nationals.

In this context, the two countries will continue to collaborate and coordinate voluntary repatriations when necessary.

The Ministry further wishes to inform that the Government of Botswana is also working with other governments to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of their citizens from Botswana.