News / National
ThisFlag's Pastor Mawarire denied UK entry
21 Oct 2016 at 15:48hrs | Views
Zimbabwean pastor Evan Mawarire who is leading protests against the brutal dictatorship of President Robert Mugabe has been refused entry into the UK.
Mawarire was told by immigration officials his visa had been refused just hours before he was due to board a flight to London.
He's been instrumental in the "#ThisFlag" campaign - an uprising against the leadership of Mugabe.
He was held in prison for several days after convincing his fellow countrymen and women to take part in a general strike but was released after protests. He was then forced to flee Zimbabwe.
Mugabe, 92, has described the pastor as a "disgrace".
Mawarire is currently in the United States but was due to give a speech in London on Tuesday night.
The reasons for his visa being rejected were not immediately clear but Premier understands he is appealing.
An event in Parliament, where Mawarire was due to speak to the Africa All Party Parliamentary Group, has been cancelled.
Premier has contacted the Home Office for further information.
Writing on his Twitter account, Mawarire said, "My visit to the UK has been delayed due to visa not yet being issued. Looking forward to the UK interactions once it comes through #ThisFlag".
Mawarire is one of anti-Mugabe activists — including exiled music star Thomas Mapfumo — who are expected in the UK where they will mobilise Diasporans to bring back the troubled southern African nation into the spotlight.
The UK tour comes as pro-democracy activists are now devising new strategies to confront Mugabe - Zimbabwe's only president since independence 36 years ago - after his government's repressive and brutal clampdown on demonstrations and imposition of a ban on protests in Harare.
According to UK-based Free Zimbabwe Advocacy (FZA) group, prominent activists such as Patson Dzamara, Sten Zvorwadza as well as Linda Masarara and Mapfumo will address gatherings in Leicester and Dunstable to drum up support for their course.
Dzamara is famed for the #OccupyAfricaUnitySquare anti-Mugabe crusade - started by his abducted and still missing brother, Itai.
Mawarire led one of the fiercest resistance movements against Mugabe's rule, leading to successful country shutdown in July this year.
He fled the country in fear, but has remained instrumental in Zimbabwe's quest for Mugabe to step down, following allegations of running down the country's economy and failure to deal with corruption.
His #ThisFlag movement became the face of Zimbabwean people's struggle, ushering a new era of a fearless generation that has braved to confront the most feared Mugabe, who has maintained a firm grip on power since 1980 when the country got its independence from the British colonisers.
Mawarire's #ThisFlag pioneered a host of other #Hashtags that have given the nonagenarian leader sleepless nights and by any standard is posing him with the greatest threat to his coveted throne that he has ever known in independent Zimbabwe.
Pursuant to a number of protests against his rule, Mugabe went on to issue a ban on demonstrations in central Harare using the controversial Public Order and Security Act.
Source - dailynews