‘Stateless’ Zimbabwean woman stranded in Kenya

Published: 5/Mar/2012
Source: PANA

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) – A woman who was allegedly married to a wealthy white farmer in Zimbabwe at the height of a crackdown against white farmers, is stranded in Nairobi after serving a jail term for illegal entry, a local television reported on Monday.

Agnes Namakonde has been stranded at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International airport, where she has been living in misery after a year in jail following her deportation to Kenya from the United Kingdom (UK), the privately-owned NTV reported.

Kenya’s immigration minister Otieno Kajwang said an investigation todetermine her nationality was underway.

“She was arrested and charged in court with an immigration offence and jailed for one year,” Kajwang said.

Upon her release, she was to be deported to the UK according to court documents. However, the revelation that she was jailed in Lokichogio, the Kenyan logistical hub near the Kenyan border with South Sudan, was even more puzzling.

Namakonde said Zimbabwe, her country of birth, had declined to accept her back after she fled the country in the company of British white farmers.

“He was rich and owned his an aircraft. We were just settling down,” Namakonde said about her husband.

Kenyan officials say the probe into her nationality follows her deportation from the UK to Kenya on suspicion that she was Kenyan or Malawian.

Namakonde said she was airlifted to the UK in 1993 after losing her spouse and family members at the height of brutal attacks against white farmers in Zimbabwe.

She said she arrived into the UK on a chartered flight in the company of other fleeing British farmers.

“I am staying in the toilet. I do not know where to go, I have no home. I was just starting a new home in the UK when they called me saying there was a removal order,” she said, adding that she was married to a British national.

Forced to sleep on the airport’s toilet at night and reduced to keeping her meager beddings on an airport hose cabinet, Namakonde left behind a life of luxury back in the UK and a marriage certificate which pronounces her as Mrs. Alexander.

“Kenya is stuck with the woman at the moment until her nationality is ascertained,” the minister said. “It would seem like she is our baggage until her nationality is ascertained,” he added.

PANAPress website

Themes: Statelessness
Regions: Kenya, Zimbabwe
Year: 2012