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Listen to Cathy Olds' interview for the BBC
"I am very disappointed"
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Tuesday, 27 June, 2000, 12:51 GMT 13:51 UK
Zimbabwe widow seeks UK asylum
Kathy Olds at the funeral of her husband
Kathy Olds has brought her two children to the UK
The widow of a white Zimbabwean farmer fatally wounded by supporters of President Robert Mugabe has applied for political asylum in the UK.

We are not secure and I wouldn't want to go back

Cathy Olds
Cathy Olds said she had fled the southern African state after threats and intimidation against her continued even after the death of her husband.

She told the BBC: "My phone was bugged, we were followed, we were watched.

"Visitors who came to see us had their car tires slashed.

"So we are not secure and I wouldn't want to go back," she said.

Secret police

Mrs Olds's husband Martin was killed in April at their 14,000 acre farm near the southern city of Bulawayo.

She believes that members of President Robert Mugabe's secret police had a hand in the attack on her husband, a supporter of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Cartridge cases found near her husband's body came from Kalashnikov rifles similar to those used by the Zimbabwean government's intelligence service and army, she said.

Mrs Olds said that police failed to respond to four calls for help as their farmhouse was besieged by some 120 squatters.


Describing her arrival in the UK, Mrs Olds told how she had been unable to get foreign currency in Zimbabwe and had arrived penniless in Britain with her two children.

Her husband was one of five white farmers killed during government-sponsored occupations of their farms which began in February.

More than 30 people were killed in total in violence leading up to last weekend's elections in which President Mugabe's Zanu-PF party narrowly won a majority of seats against the MDC.

She told the BBC that she was disappointed at the outcome of the election.

"I worry for the whites and the rest of Zimbabwe," she said.

Immigration rules

Not all of Zimbabwe's whites would have to apply for asylum if they came to the UK - around 20,000 are thought to have the automatic right to enter Britain.

Anyone with a parent born in Britain is exempted from British asylum and immigration laws and can enter the UK on a Commonwealth passport.

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18 Apr 00 | UK Politics
UK could take 20,000 Zimbabweans
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