Dad of two trapped in Zimbabwe in red tape row

HUDDERSFIELD, UK – TWO Huddersfield youngsters are pining for their Zimbabwean dad Tonderayi Murombe– stranded thousands of miles away in a red-tape row.\r\n

Jack and William Murombe are living with their mum Joan Stephenson in Milnsbridge and cannot understand why their dad cannot be with them.

But Tonderayi Murombe, who has lived in the UK since 1984, is stranded 5,256 miles away – after flying back to his native Zimbabwe for a funeral 12 months ago.

Immigration officials in Holland stopped him from continuing his return journey to Britain after the funeral in January and flew him back to South Africa and then in to Zimbabwe.

Now he is staying with relatives and friends in Harare in Zimbabwe and still waiting for South African officials to okay his return.

The row centres on a change of passport and a former conviction, which was quashed on appeal.

But there could be hope.

The case has been taken up by Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney and he said last night: “We hope we are close to a resolution.”

Mr Murombe, 44, who is known as Vincent, came to Britain in 1984 and was granted permission to stay. He has been living in Milnsbridge with his partner of 10 years, Joan, along with their children, five-year-old Jack and three-year-old William, and his 19-year-old son from a previous marriage, Warren, who is a student in Manchester.

Mr Murombe had been working as a manager with Subway in Leeds.

Joan said: “It is so cruel. He came here legally and is allowed to live here, and he has always worked.

“He got a degree in business and marketing at the University of Huddersfield and worked hard for his family.

“He flew out for the funeral of his uncle on December 27 last year, but on January 2 on his way back the Dutch authorities stopped him.

“There is a dispute over his passport, which is a new one, and the Dutch immigration officials claim he cannot return to the UK.

“They sent him back into South Africa and we are trying to work with authorities there to get this mess sorted out.

“It is very hard for the boys. They have not seen their dad for almost a year and communication is very difficult.

“I might have to end up selling our home if it goes on much longer, as I cannot afford to keep the family and run a house.”

Mr McCartney said: “It is a very complex issue over passports and we have spent a long time working on this case.

“I hope that we will soon be hearing some good news and that a resolution can be found.” – Huddersfield Daily Examiner