FRANCISTOWN — Gift Ncube has no arms, no money, no parents and now no place to call home.
He is being held at Botswana’s Centre for Illegal Immigrants in Francistown after efforts to deport him to Zimbabwe failed.
Ncube had been receiving treatment at Mahalapye Hospital until the order to deport him came last Monday.
The double amputee, who is an illegal immigrant, was turned back after immigration officials in Zimbabwe refused him entry.
The 23-year-old Zimbabwean, whose story was reported by The Voice last November, created worldwide interest when he lost both arms after his employer shot him following a dispute over pay.
The Botswana government’s move to deport Ncube has apparently come as a shock to the Zimbabwe Embassy despite reports that the two countries were in “high level” talks to regularise his travel documents.
Ncube, who has been in Botswana illegally for the past 10 years, was refused entry at the Plumtree border post after immigration officials attempted to hand him over to their Zimbabwean counterparts.
It appears that certain documents relating to the transfer were missing as well as a query over arrangements for his return to attend his case once it came to court.
His Motswana employer Keitumetse Khunowu from Radisele has remained in custody since the November shooting.
The reasons behind the Botswana government’s decision to rush through Ncube’s deportation remains unclear after efforts to get an official comment failed.
The Zimbabwean, who lost both his parents at an early age, would have difficulty looking after himself in his home country due to his condition and the fact that he has only an aged aunt in Harare to care of him.
He has a four-year-old son with his Motswana girlfriend Linah and even though she was willing to stay with him in Zimbabwe, she is also currently without the necessary travel documents.
Ncube told The Voice that he does not understand why the authorities have turned their back on him.
“Since you published my story in the paper I have received many offers of help from people here, but although I clearly explained my situation back home, all my pleas to stay — at least until the case comes to court — have fallen on the deaf ears of the Botswana government,” he said.
Ncube says he has on several occasions attempted suicide to end his ordeal.
“On a number of occasions I planned to commit suicide, but as you can see without hands even that becomes difficult,” he said.
“This whole thing continues to be like some horrific dream — especially since there are times I imagine I still have the full use of my limbs.
“I cry for my mother because if she was still alive I would at least have a home and someone to care for me.
“I don’t know how I have sinned to deserve such a torture in life,” he added, before being whisked away to resume his journey.
Nametso Nkarabang, a Gaborone woman who read about Ncube’s situation in The Voice and expressed her willingness to accommodate him until his case was finalised, expressed shock at the sudden turn of events.
“I don’t know why our government is doing such a thing to this guy, especially since he is an orphan and cannot fend for himself,” she said.
“I cried helplessly when I heard that he was going to be deported, but there was nothing I could do.
“I am glad the Zimbabwean authorities did not accept him, at least it gives us a bit of time to help.”
Ncube’s lawyer Enoch Mazonde said although he understood that his client was still an illegal immigrant, he did not see any reason for the deportation.
“The decision is simply conflicting with the pillars of the country’s Vision 2016, calling for a compassionate and caring nation,” Mazonde said.
Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Botswana Thomas Mandigora was not available, but the embassy was reportedly alerted about Ncube’s plight. Botswana government spokesperson, Jeff Ramsay, said Ncube’s deportation would not have any impact on Botswana’s international reputation.
— The Voice