"Deporting Mr. Chilowa would be an act of gross injustice, critically undermining our sense of humanity and our commitment to inclusion and tolerance."
UK: FORMER Withington legislator John Leech has joined thousands of citizens fighting to stop the deportation of hero Robert Chilowa back to his native Zimbabwe.
Chilowa, who recently made headlines after saving two children from an inferno which claimed their grandparents, is back in the news a few days later, albeit facing deportation.
Leech said the move by the UK government smacks of discrimination and against the humanitarian doctrine for which the country is known for. He demanded that Chilowa's residence be made permanent.
"Deporting Mr. Chilowa would be an act of gross injustice, critically undermining our sense of humanity and our commitment to inclusion and tolerance,” said Leech who famously saved a constituent from deportation decades ago just before the plane took-off.
"Unless you live and work here in Withington, you simply cannot appreciate just how much that fire rocked our community,” he said.
“Flowers from across the whole city piled up outside the family's home; it was a deeply painful time for everyone locally.
"Especially with what's happening with Brexit, we need to show that we are an open, tolerant and united country. Brutally deporting a hero is not the way to go about that.
"People like Robert make Manchester the thriving, diverse, international and world-class city it is today. We don't want him leaving, we want him involved in our community."
Chilowa, who dashed to the scene of a ferocious fire engulfing a neighbour's house after hearing screams of terror, rescued two young children from the flames through a second-floor window that had already claimed the lives of their grandparents.
Over 7,000 people have signed a petition to stop the hero’s deportation. The pleas have forced the government to grant Chilowa an extension until his fate is decided this week.
Veteran politician, Leech, wrote a strongly worded letter to the home office secretary, Amber Rudd, and a passionate plea handed to government.
"This man's heroic efforts were the only saving grace in an otherwise tragic event. He is a true local hero; it's that simple, and he should be allowed to continue living here, yet his subsequent treatment has been gravely unfair,” Leech said.
He added, “Whilst the family mourns, this Government, instead of lauding and thanking him, is deporting him - what kind of message would it send out if he were to be forced to leave the U.K.?
"Manchester is a diverse, welcoming and tolerant community and I know that every single person here is ready to welcome Robert with open arms.
"Deporting Mr. Chilowa would be an act of gross injustice, critically undermining our sense of humanity and our commitment to inclusion and tolerance. I urge you to show compassion in this case, and allow Mr Chilowa to remain here in the U.K."
Chilowa received a letter from the Home Office last week informing him that he had no right to stay in the UK and was to be deported back to Zimbabwe. He has been seeking political asylum in Manchester from the regime of Robert Mugabe.
Following Leech's intervention and a series of supported appeals from different people, an extension on the deportation deadline was granted and a final hearing will be held next week to determine whether he can stay.
Despite his selfless act, the UK government has told Chilowa to use the NHS for medical remedies to smoke he inhaled when he saved the children. He is also prohibited from seeking alternative accommodation.
The 46-year-old father of two has lived in the UK for 16 years.