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UK visa denial for award-winning Ugandan actress

DENIED: Ugandan star Nisha Kalema (image credit: 'The Herald')

THE HOME Office has refused Nisha 'queen of the Ugandan screen' Kalema entry to the UK, scuppering the actress' plans to appear at the famed Edinburgh Festival, despite an endorsement of her application by t he Edinburgh Fringe Society.

Kalema, also a playwright, was supposed to appear on stage in Freedom, which she also wrote.

The Scottish Christian Party's Reverend Dr. George Hargreaves is campaigning on Kalema's behalf after what he regards as unjust treatment from immigration authorities whom he believes are steeped in institutional racism and "out of control".

The reason for the refusal was that the Border Agency were "not satisfied" the star could afford her journey back to Uganda after the six-month visa had run out. The person assessing her case also claimed they were "unable to determine why you [Kalema] have chosen to attend this event on this occasion."

Hargreaves added:

"This is standard refusal jargon that I have seen before, which assumes, as a default position, that Africans are liars, desperate to live in ‘paradise’ Britain. This is outrageous and clearly racist and Scotland has been implicated in the infamy by association.”

In documents setting out the reasons for refusal, an unnamed UK Visa & Immigration said that they were
But Immigration officials said she could not come to the UK on a six-month visa as they were "not satisfied" she would leave or could meet the cost of her journey home.

Rev Hargreaves said: "Dr Hargreaves stated, “I think that the UK Visas & Immigration department is out of control. This is standard refusal jargon that I have seen before, which assumes, as a default position, that Africans are liars, desperate to live in ‘paradise’ Britain.

"This is outrageous and clearly racist And Scotland has been implicated in the infamy by association.”

Speaking with Scottish newspaper The Herald, Kalema said:

"The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the biggest arts festival in the world. Why wouldn’t I want to attend, having been invited. I am not an artist? The only supporting document that I was obliged to submit for a UK visa was my Ugandan passport.

"Whilst it was suggested that other documents might help if submitted, they were not mandatory and there was no suggestion that not submitting them would lead to a refusal as has now been the case.

"I did submit documents relevant to my status as a performing artist. It appears to me that the Entry Clearance Officer either did not go through my file properly, where he or she would have found award certificates, press cuttings and publicity material for my performance at the Edinburgh Fringe; or there is another agenda at work.”

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