FRESHLYGROUND: State Explains Why They Were Denied Entry
Zimbabwe’s government seems to deny that controversial South African group Freshlyground was denied entry into the country to perform at the closing show of the Harare International Festival of the Arts because of a song they recorded about president Robert Mugabe.
The Herald quotes regional Immigration Officer Mr Francis Mabika saying:
The group was sent back because they did not have a valid work permit. Their permit had not yet been processed so they could not be allowed to enter the country.
According to the same newspaper Deputy Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Tabetha Kanengoni-Malinga said that HIFA had been informed that the group might not be allowed into country a few days before they were billed to perform.
HIFA insists it followed all procedure and was not sure of the reason for denial entry.
The denial of entry ha split opinion down the middle with some blaming HIFA for the fracas while some felt sorry for them. Some felt HIFA should have engaged government earlier especially when dealing with a group this controversial.
Cynically, some have even suggested that this is exactly the reaction HIFA wanted which if true would be both unfortunate and a bit surprising.
Freshlyground itself seemed to take a dig at Zimbabwe’s authorities saying:
We regret to announce that we were denied entry into Zim today 'reasons not given' We are hugely disappointed. Cluck cluck cluck
— freshlyground (@FRESHLYGROUNDsa) May 4, 2014
Standoff to continue then?
Do you believe the state’s reason?