British parliamentarian, Kate Hoey who is Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe, has said it is disgraceful that prominent Zimbabwean civil rights campaigners are being refused visas to visit the UK to talk about the struggle against President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF regime.
She said this while speaking at the Royal Geographical Society in London on Wednesday at a meeting of the Mike Campbell Foundation which was set up to address injustices involved in Mugabe’s land seizures.
She said a visa had been denied to one of the speakers invited to the gathering, Gift Konjana, who had been detained more than thirty times and his home petrol-bombed for helping destitute farm workers.
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Other activists refused visas include Pastor Evan Mawarire who is now exiled in the United States, who had been invited to address the parliamentary group as well as to speak at the London foreign policy think tank, the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). Another excluded activist was Patson Dzamara, brother of the abducted Itai, who was also due to speak to the parliamentary group.
A speaker from Zimbabwe who was able to get a visa was Bishop Ancelimo Magaya, founder of Grace Ablaze Ministries International, making his first visit to the UK.