"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Zimbabwe Begins Repatriating White Britons

Five hundred British passport-holders left destitute in Zimbabwe by the disastrous policies of Robert Mugabe are finally getting the help that they deserve from the British government.

The group have had their assets and savings destroyed by hyper-inflation and the man made economic crisis in Zimbabwe. They include former colonial administrators, civil servants and British settlers.

They will be flown home at the expense of the British taxpayer, resettled here, as will as given full state pensions and entitlements. For once, I think this is very good news.

From the Telegraph:

Fred Noble, a 78-year-old Scot, will return to Fife this weekend, 51 years after he and his wife departed with £100 for what was then Britain’s Crown Colony of Southern Rhodesia. He worked for Rhodesian Railways, retiring on a pension with medical aid 13 years ago.

“I helped more people than helped me and I deserve a Christian burial. I don’t want to get ill in Zimbabwe,” said Mr Noble, who lost his wife four years ago and was the second pensioner to apply for “repatriation” at the British Embassy.

Mr Mugabe’s bankrupt regime stopped paying his pension five years ago, leaving Mr Noble dependent on his investments.

When Zimbabwe’s inflation reached more than 230 million per cent, the value of his portfolio plunged to less than a penny.

“We didn’t do anything wrong, we paid taxes, invested for our old age. My wife used to say, 'All this place has is sunshine, we are wasting our lives here’. My sister, Gwen in UK, sent me £1,600 and it’s gone now,” said Mr Noble. “I was second to apply to go and we had two weeks to prepare to leave.”

To fund his new life in Britain, he will sell his 1967 car and a television for about £250. But some prized possessions will stay behind. “I have an elephant-skin waistcoat - I was a dandy you know - and two pairs of handmade shoes, the best Rhodesia produced,” said Mr Noble. “I’ll give them away. I will take photos, the Bible my wife gave me and my Robbie Burns.”

Anne Budden, 83, is leaving the land of her birth because she can no longer bear to be “a burden on my daughters in Zimbabwe”. She added: “Their husbands are nearing retirement age. They keep on saying I should change my mind, but I must go. My hip operation took my last money. Our three pensions, on which we lived well, disappeared about five years ago.”

Mrs Budden, who was widowed two years ago, lives in a rented flat in Harare, paid for by another daughter in Britain. “I have a lovely life, shielded from what is going on outside, with space, nice people, and my own garden, and I will miss that and especially my two daughters in Zimbabwe who protect me from hardship.”

Although she has spent a lifetime in Africa, Mrs Budden has always cherished her attachment to Britain. “I am leaving the country of my birth but going to the land of my ancestors,” she said. “I love the Queen and I have a daughter in the UK.”

She will move to Farnborough, near another friend from Harare who will also leave this weekend. “We need to support each other as we start new lives,” said Mrs Budden.

British diplomats in Harare have quietly identified pensioners with British citizenship and no means of support. But the Embassy declined to comment on the official repatriation scheme.

About 1,500 other Zimbabwean pensioners have no foreign citizenship, no family and no means of escape. As each penniless Briton departs, a new charity will be able to give more help to those who are left behind. The charity, Zimbabwe: A National Emergency (ZANE), will be their only lifeline.


Abu Abdullah said...

With the way things are in Britain, the repatriation may turn out to be a case of jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

Anonymous said...

So having not contributed to the UK for decades we taxpayers are now paying for their return to the UK, their pensions and their health care.


Anonymous said...

The British government should have agreed to pay Zimbabwe at its independence money to buy back the land. They had always denied that there were Britons with British passports living there. Zimbabwe had been used to resettle war veterans from WWII. When the Western powers brought hardship on Zimbabwe they thought it was Robert Mugabe being punished. Finally, the Africans whose ancestors had been driven from their land will have the biggest laugh. Hopefully, the rain will fall for their crops to grow. For them they never knew what pension was or any decent living. Only deprivation, even of land where to grow crops. They were porters, servants and "slaves" in their own country which had been settled by people from overseas through a colonial process. Now finally, both sides can receive justice because of all the arrogance of the British administrators or colonialists. Colonialism was, after all, bad for Africans

The Venerable 1st Earl of Cromer said...

Anon 17:28:

Looking at the sort of things the government finds funding for with no problem at all, I think they can manage this.

After all, these people are British citizens (and many one the welfare gravy train can't say the same).

The Venerable 1st Earl of Cromer said...

Anon 23:55:

Britain is now used to resettle the surplus population of the Third World (which we pay to create in the first place through aid), so can we call it even?

Do you not think that it was actually Mugabe who brought hardship on Zimbabwe?

Rhodesia was a thriving First World country which was actually sold out by the West, particularly Britain. The system you criticise provided jobs, stability and structure, and in fact Rhodesia was one of the most successful nations Africa has ever seen, for blacks (comparatively) as well as whites - but please don't let reality intrude on my account.

I'm sure you're right, now all these pesky white pensioners are homeward bound, all will be well in Zimbabwe, and it can finally raise itself to the standards of the rest of Africa.

"Colonialism was, after all, bad for Africans."

Well, now we're all paying the price, aren't we?