LAST MINUTE efforts were being made this week to persuade the Home Office in England to allow two girls from Zimbabwe to continue their studies in Britain. Both girls are currently in Ireland having been refused permission to go to college in Britain. They were allowed into England on a temporary permit in February but left for Ireland on April 1, the day they were due to he sent back to Zimbabwe.
British immigration officials have refused to return their pass ports to them, presumably to force them to return to Heathrow where they would immediately be sent home. The Irish authorities have indicated that they intend to deport the girls next Friday. One of the girls, Miss Chosen Nkala, is a niece of the Zim babwean Minister of Finance, Mr Enos Nkala. The other, Miss Maxine Tshuma, is a former pupil at the Catholic mission school of Regina Mund in Zimbabwe, where three missionaries were killed in 1976. The school was closed in 1977, as was the one she moved to.
Miss Nkala's education was also seriously disrupted by the effects of the guerilla war. However, both girls succeeded in gaining Cambridge 0 Level certificates.
Despite this the Home Office maintains that neither has the ability to follow A level courses and cites that as one of the reasons for refusing entry. It also says that it has been given no proof that they have sufficient financial backing and questions their desire to go home after completing their studies.
The girls' case is that Miss Ivy Nkala, Chosen's aunt, has guaranteed to maintain them while in Britain and to pay the necessary fees for their education. Miss Nkala has been in Britain for 21 years and works as a ward sister in a London hospital. She also owns three properties in England from which she gets rent.
Her accountants have given a written assurance that "she would he well able to provide accommodation and support for any relative coming to this country from overseas.
The girls also deny the Home Office claim that they do not want to go back to Zimbabwe after finishing their courses.
Mrs Judith Acton, who works for the registered charity, the Zimbabwe Project, has been pressing the Home Office to change its ruling.