Mutua currently survives by doing menial jobs as he remains stuck in the country as an illegal immigrant without permits or a passport. He says he travels long distances by foot and begs for transport fare and food because the Kenyan Embassy will not intervene.
A Kenyan citizen who alleges to have been wrongfully arrested for two years, “robbed” by prisons or immigration officers and harassed by government security agents says he will not go down without a fight and is preparing to sue government for millions of pulas for ill-treatment.
Paul Ngei Mutua who spoke to The Botswana Gazette recently says he was arrested on 31st December 2015 and released 5 May 2017. He says very angry and disappointed with Botswana, a country he calls evil for mistreating foreigners despite being touted as the “Africa jewel of democracy, peaceful and loving”. As an example, Mutua speaks of witnessing practices he says are effectively xenophobic while detained at the Francistown Center for Illegal Immigrants(FCII), as well as other horror stories he says he heard from the Dukwi Refugee Camp.
“I have businesses in many countries of Southern Africa, so I usually pass by Botswana. I came in 2015 and was given 90 days to stay here. I took a week in Gaborone then went to Francistown. I then crossed to Zimbabwe, Harare for my businesses in that country.
Upon my return to Botswana, I crossed through the Plumtree Border gate where I was approached by two Immigration officers who claimed to be examining my travel documents. I was told to sit down. I was later told stamps in my passports were fake. They took away my passport, money in US dollars, Kenyan documents and other valuables. After that they decided to handcuff me on my hands and legs since they claimed that Kenyans always run away. They then took me to FCII where I lived in misery for almost two years. I found all the evil things the officers did there with my naked eyes. Children were born and grew before my eyes. Refugees and illegal immigrants, some asylum seekers are also accused of being illegal immigrants and are abused like I was. I want the world to know that Botswana is a bad country,” said Mutua.
This publication looked into documents to corroborate Mutua’s griviences; A Fransistown High Court order delivered by Justice Bengbame Sechele actually instructed the FCII to release Mutua. The order dated 13th April 2017 was made following a petition by Mutua. There is also information confirming that Mutua’s valuables and documents went missing while in custody of law enforcement officials.
A letter from a Senior Superintendent G.C Magole reads that “Mutua’s passport got lost while under the custody of a prison official at Francistown Centre For Illegal Immigrants.” The officer who lost Mutua’s passport is expected to pay for expenses for its replacement but according to information seen by this publication, Mutua’s passport worth P1 300 has not been replaced and he continues to be stuck inside Botswana borders.
Justice Sechele had ordered that Mutua be surrendered to “an official of the Embassy of the Republic of Kenya at Gaborone” after his release from FCII. It was further ordered that FCII should consult with the Kenyan Embassy to make arrangements to transport Mutua to Kenya within 30 days of the order being issued.
In an interview with this publication last week Mutua lashed out at Kenyan Ambassador Jean Kimani for neglecting him during his arrest and after his release. “Kimani is useless! I hate her! She did not help me. I am not even sure if she cared or she just ignored. You know back at home it is all about politics and tribalism. Kimani would not help me because she is from a different tribe and party as mine,” said Mutua.
Contacted for comment the Kenyan Embassy dismissed Mutua’s criticism, saying he was visited by the embassy after he was arrested and that a lawyer was even hired to defend him as it had been established that he was detained illegally. The embassy says Mutua will be paid for his illegal detention and that his lost passport will be replaced.
The embassy also said it helped Mutua with accommodation following his release until he decided to live somewhere in Kanye: “He also rejected alternative accommodation as his stay in hotels was not sustainable.”
Because of this Mutua says he lives like a homeless pauper and sleeps outside “in an open space” as the embassy stopped paying for his accommodation. He also told The Botswana Gazette that he relies on menial jobs and walks by foot to make ends meet. He even begged for food and transport from this reporter as he said the embassy was refusing to help him. The Kenyan embassy also dismissed these claims saying Mutua was given financial assistance as recent as Friday 30th June 2017.
The embassy claims that Mutua is “delaying his departure deliberately hoping to get his compensation before he leaves. He has been assured that he will be compensated by the Botswana authorities even after going back to Kenya.” Mutua however dismissed this claim saying “I have a family back home…tell them to give me my passport now so that I can go!”
Mutua was supposed to have been given his passport 30 days after his release on 5th May 2017 but the matter remains unresolved and is in the hands of the Department of Immigration and the Kenyan embassy. The embassy says Mutua was given contacts of the Department of Immigration who are facilitating his travel by air to Kenya. According to the Kenyan mission, Mutua can get his travel documents within a day if he wishes to travel. They however accuse Mutua of being “uncooperative” as his phone is always off when attempts to reach him are made.
This publication could not get comments from government authorities before press time as the Defense, Justice and Security ministry and government spokesperson had not provided responses. Head of the Department of Immigration was also unreachable too while the phones of Prison Services Commander Silas Setlalekgosi and Divisional Commander at FCII rang unanswered.