Family and friends of a 29-year-old man who moved to the UK when he was 9-years-are appealing to the UK Home Office to reverse its decision to deport the young man to a country where he has no family or job with just GBP 40 in his pocket.
Bruce Mpofu, 29, from Bradford who left Zimbabwe with his mum when he was just nine years old lost the right to live in the country after he was convicted of carrying out an armed robbery when he was 18 and sentenced to 11 months in jail.
He was flown out of the UK on a deportation flight bound for Zimbabwe’s capital Harare at 10 pm on 25th August. Mpofu then landed in a country where he has no friends, no family and no connections to help him rebuild his life.
The UK home office decided to deport Mpofu in July on the grounds that when he was 18 he was convicted of carrying out a robbery and sentenced to 11 months in jail.
A Gofundme page was started to try and gather funds to appeal the home office’s decisions but the efforts failed and Mpofu was flown to Zimbabwe.
The funds from the Gofundme page are now being used to cover Mpofu’s basic needs whilst the family find a lawyer to help them appeal to the government’s decision.
John Priestley, Mpofu’s friend, told the news site Telegraph and Argus: “I was shocked when we heard the news that he was being deported, but I knew we just needed to do something, so we set up the fundraiser.”
“The UK Government gave him GBP 40 when he got there, which obviously isn’t a lot, so we just want to get him on his feet over there so he has money for food and accommodation.”
The Gofundme page has so far raised GBP 5,113 and Mpofu posted a video on his Facebook page thanking everyone for the support.
He said: “Thank you all for the love and support and everything that everyone’s doing. I don’t know how many times I can say it, or how many ways I can say it, I’m trying to figure out new ways of saying it but I wish you could all be here to see the view with me in better circumstances.”
He added: “In twenty years I’ve not been here and it’s kind of beautiful. It’s humbling how much love and support I’m getting right now.”
Despite his positive attitude, Mpofu concluded the video by saying: “I just want to be home, playing rugby with my boys, and don’t forget the pints afterwards.”
When the Telegraph & Argus asked The Home Office for a comment, a spokesperson said: “Foreign criminals who abuse our hospitality should be in no doubt of our determination to deport them. Since January 2019 we have removed 7,985 foreign national offenders from the UK.”
Mpofu has not reoffended since and according to the Gofundme page: “Whilst he made a mistake as a minor, he has nothing but been an upstanding citizen since and the decision from the Home Office seems cruel and unjust.”
The page added a new post after Mpofu arrived in Harare saying: “We are now desperately trying to raise funds to help prevent Bruce from being homeless. It will also help him with things that we take for granted such as food and clothing.”
“Whilst we try and raise funds to help Bruce in Zimbabwe, we will be approaching charities that may be able to help with taking his case further (to the Court of Appeal).”
It is not clear if any progress has been made with appealing Mpofu’s deportation.