“When my passport ran out the passport authority refused to issue a new one without giving any explanation,” he revealed.

“I was forced to approach the Constitutional Court and it was only after the court set down a hearing that the authority suddenly relented and released a passport.

“For over a year I was virtually stateless. My battle to get a passport was not published in newspapers. One day (time permitting) I will write about this little saga. I left Zimbabwe in 2000 and the first year after that was particularly difficult.”

He added: “The State seemed to spare no expense in sending people to follow me wherever I went.

“For instance, like most business people I usually stayed at the same hotels as this leads to discounts on the rates (tip for you). But in my case, it meant ‘there are certain guests who are here with you’ as one hotel employee told me quietly. “Then I had to change how and when I travelled. At times it was very embarrassing for the agents when they realised I was aware of them following me as happened at a hotel in London. I simply went to them and greeted them politely in our local language, then went away!”