October 25, 2013: Family and friends were waiting anxiously last night to find out if Evenia Mawongera had been put on a deportation flight to Zimbabwe.
After months of campaigning to persuade Home Secretary Teresa May to allow her to stay, she was due to board an Ethiopia Airlines flight from Heathrow at 9pm.
Ms Mawongera, 55, who has made Leicester her home and has children and grandchildren here, has been an outspoken critic of the Mugabe regime and fears for her life if she goes back in Zimbabwe.
She fled the country 10 years ago.
Campaigner Ambrose Musiyiwa said last night: “We know she was taken to Heathrow in the afternoon. We are waiting to hear from her lawyer. Her removal to Zimbabwe is not in the best interest of her grandchildren, who are British citizens, and for whose care she shares parental responsibility.
“More seriously, when she arrives at Harare International Airport, she will be arrested by agents of the Mugabe regime and subjected to extremely serious ill-treatment.”
More than 2,000 people from Leicester, including the majority of city council members, have signed copies of a petition calling on the Home Secretary and Immigration Minister Mark Harper to let her stay. All three city MPs also supported the campaign.
A campaign was launched to persuade Ethopian Airlines not to take Evenia on 24 October 2013. The flight was switched at very short notice to a flight with Kenyan Airlines on 25 October 2013. Kenyan Airlines were also approached.
The campaign team have been relentless and imaginative, and gathered significant support to prevent Evenia’s removal however …