Is Zimbabwe Allowing Travel to and From the Country as Alleged?

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A statement (see above-featured image) claiming that Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is accepting applications from people who wish to enter or leave the country has been making the rounds on Whatsapp and Facebook.

The alleged statement indicates that those who wish to leave or enter the country should apply by submitting copies of their passport and residence permits, documents that prove the reason for travel and a letter addressed to the Ministry of Home Affairs, stating the intended date and reason for travel. The applications would supposedly take 3-4 working days to approve, after which they would apparently be forwarded to the Chief Immigration Officer. A telephone number allegedly belonging to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where those looking to travel can apparently call to follow up on the application process, accompanies the statement

Background

According to the United States Embassy in Zimbabwe, entry to Zimbabwe is prohibited except for Zimbabwe nationals and foreigners with a valid residency visa for Zimbabwe. The same travel advisory has been shared by the United Kingdom government.

Information on the US Embassy website states that the government of Zimbabwe first introduced a nationwide lockdown on March 30, as a measure set to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The lockdown was then extended on May 16. President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s most recent address on COVID-19 restrictions was held on July 22, introducing a 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. curfew.

Verification

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade on August 9 distanced itself from the alleged statement. A post on the ministry’s Twitter account indicated that the statement was not from the ministry. The statement and/or the alleged application process have also not been communicated through any of the official government platforms.

Verdict

Claims that Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is inviting applications from those intending to enter or exit the country are false.

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Linda Ngari