Freshlyground was turned back at Harare International Airport on Sunday. The group was billed to perform as the main act in the closing ceremony of the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA).
Zimbabwe Immigration Spokesperson, Francis Mabika revealed that the group was sent back because their permit had not been processed and they could not be allowed into the country without a valid work permit.
On their Twitter page, Freshlyground posted that they regretted the development and said the group was not aware why they were denied entry.
Said Freshlyground: “We regret to announce that we were denied entry into Zim today.We are hugely disappointed.”
Their spokesperson, Kerry Friedmann reportedly said the group was not advised on the reasons why they were denied entry although the organisers and the band had followed the requisite permit requirements.
This is not the first time that the group has been denied entry into Zimbabwe with Zimbabwean fans attributing the development to the release of the song 'Chicken to change', which makes fun of President Robert Mugabe’s stay in power.
A statement issued by HIFA apologised to fans over failure by the group to perform.
HIFA Head of Community and Media Liason Tafadzwa Simba dismissed reports that his organisation had not done its job in terms of ensuring that the group’s permit was in order.
Said Simba: “HIFA followed procedure as per every year.”
Simba said testimony to this is that the organisation did not face any challenges with the Home Affairs department in getting the group's permit for the other international artists.
“Every other act gained entry and there were no divisions on whether the group was to be invited or not,” he said.Post published in: News