Zimbabwean authorities have deported Good Governance Africa (GGA) CEO Chris Maroleng and three colleagues.
Maroleng and his team flew into the country on Tuesday but were told on Thursday afternoon by immigration officials to leave immediately. This was after being given permission to enter the country by officials at the Zimbabwean embassy in Pretoria.
In a statement, GGA said their visit to Zimbabwe was linked to field research on election conditions and challenges ahead of the general election next Wednesday.
Maroleng said immigration officials arrived at their hotel in Bulawayo for “routine inspections of their passports”.
“They then summoned us to their offices and asked questions about the reasons for our visit to the country. I explained our research objectives. About an hour later we were told we had to leave the country immediately. They escorted us back to the hotel and then to the airport.
“We are shocked and dismayed by this turn of events, but not surprised, as the pattern of bullying and anti-democratic behaviour by the Zanu-PF led-government, especially in the run-up to elections, is well-documented,” Maroleng said.
Zimbabwean government spokesperson Nick Mangwana said on social media platform X that anyone who made “misrepresentations” to immigration officers would be deported.
“We note a lot of interest in visiting our country and staying between August 18 and 25. If you are an election observer, say so — we accredit such. If you are a journalist say so, we accredit such. If you make misrepresentations to the immigration officer, you may find yourself on the next plane home,” said Mangwana.
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