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Hungry for Love- Protesting Man Goes into Second Day of Fast
As the clock strikes 0720hrs today Fungai James Tichawangana of Harare has not eaten since Sunday evening in a protest which he hopes will aid the speedy processing of his Norwegian VISA so that he can be with his wife.
By: Aripano Infinity
And when will he eat something? “I don’t know,” he replied, “I promised my wife I wouldn’t endanger my life, so we’ll see. Right now I’m drinking only water.”
It all began on 7th October 2008 when Tichawangana applied for a VISA to join his wife who is studying in Norway. He was told that by Christmas he would be with his wife, but five months later he is still waiting.
Communication with the Norwegian Embassy in Harare proved futile as the response that continued to come was: “Sorry, no response yet from Norway.”
Frustrated with the long time it was taking to get his papers processed, both he and his wife wrote to the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) but after several back and forth emails all they got was a staunch: “We can see you are in a difficult situation. There is not much you can do about it at this point. I am not sure who told you it would take two months. We apologize if you were given such information. It is not correct. It is not possible to say when the application will be finished…”
Tichawangana even emailed the King of Norway’s office- four times. The fourth email got a response from the King’s secretary: “His Majesty The King has instructed me to acknowledge receipt of your letter. I have also been instructed to inform you that it will not be possible to render any assistance to your request from here. The proper authority to which your request should be furthered is the Norwegian embassy.”
“They were asking us to go back to square one.” Tichawangana said.
“How is it possible that after so much time they cannot tell us when it will be processed?” He went on to add that he had been told just yesterday (2 March) during a visit to the Embassy, that UDI had informed them that it may take up to 10 months to process! “Now they tell us10 months. After 5 months of waiting and hoping. That is not acceptable.”
Tichawangana has been to Norway before, in December 2007. He spent a month there and says he did not overstay his VISA, which makes it more difficult for him to understand why this is taking so long.
“The strange thing is that we know of cases that have been processed in much shorter periods of time, including one that took two weeks to process, so there is something very wrong here. What sort of system is designed to keep married people apart for 10 whole months?”
During his visit to the embassy Tichawangana presented a dossier to the ambassador’s secretary containing a letter that outlined the couple’s story including printouts of communication with the embassy, UDI and the King’s office.
He says that his aim now is to raise as much awareness about this issue as possible. If my wife and I are in a situation like this, then there must be others. If it’s the system that’s a problem, then we must raise the attention of the right people so that they can change the system.
In the meantime Tichawangana continues his fast…
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