A German member of the European Parliament has disputed claims by Harare that two ZANU-PF officials were denied visas by the German Embassy, preventing them from traveling to a session of the African-Caribbean Pacific-European Union Joint Parliamentary Assembly that is to open Saturday in Wiesbaden.
Joint Parliamentary Assembly First Vice Chairman and European Parliament Member Michael Gahler issued a statement declaring that “no formal visa applications have ever been submitted” to the German Embassy in Harare by the ZANU-PF officials.
The state-controlled Herald newspaper quoted Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma on Saturday as saying four parliamentarians who were to attend the session in Germany would not go because two ZANU-PF senators had been denied visas.
Although ZANU-PF Senator Clarissa Muchengeti and House Member Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change faction of Morgan Tsvangirai managed to obtain visas, Zvoma informed legislators Friday that Zimbabwe was withdrawing from the forum, whose agenda prominently included the Zimbabwe crisis.
Gahler told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the controversy was unfortunate as the assembly wanted to have representatives of the ruling party and opposition present for the discussion of the situation in Zimbabwe.
Contradicting Gahler's statement, ZANU-PF senator Forbes Magadu insisted that he and Godfrey Chipare, another ruling party senator, were indeed denied visas by the German Embassy, and attributed this to the perfidious influence of Great Britain.
MDC parliamentarian Nelson Chamisa, who called off his trip to Wiesbaden due to the delegation cancellation, called Harare's position “ridiculous and misleading,” and said the imbroglio may have been engineered deliberately to keep Zimbabwe off the ACP-EU agenda, as the assembly is barred from discussing a country not represented.