Harare, Zimbabwe — MININGREVIEW.COM — 23 June 2009 – The British government has denied the Zimbabwean mines minister a visa to attend an investment conference in the UK, fuelling anger in President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party over what it called continued Western sanctions on its officials.
A Harare government official revealed here today that Britain had refused Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu a visa under European Union travel sanctions against Mugabe and his top associates.
The minister had wanted to travel to London to address a conference on investment opportunities in the southern African country.
“The minister did not get a visa and in our view all this does not make sense, except to confirm that some people in London are pursuing their fight against ZANU-PF,” the official added.
“They are trying to undermine the inclusive government with this sort of attitude.”
Mugabe formed a unity government in February with arch-rival Morgan Tsvangirai – now prime minister – to try to end an the economic and political crisis worsened last year by a disputed presidential poll. Tsvangirai is in London as part of a Western tour to drum up financial support for Zimbabwe’s new government.
A representative of the Zimbabwean High Commission in London said Mpofu had been excluded because he was on the British government’s banned list as a member of Mugabe’s circle.