New Zealand tour of Zimbabwe 2005 July 12, 2005

Olonga arrives in New Zealand

Cricinfo staff

Henry Olonga during his black armband protest © Getty Images
Henry Olonga, the former Zimbawe fast bowler, has arrived in New Zealand to try and prevent their cricket team from touring his home country. Olonga left Zimbabwe in 2003 after wearing a black armband at the World Cup to mourn the "death of democracy" in the country.

Olonga is in New Zealand at the behest of the Green Party, who are proposing legislation to prevent the cricket team from touring Zimbabwe. The New Zealand government has in recent times said that they will not prevent the team from going to Zimbabwe. The ICC rules state that New Zealand will be fined at least US$2million if the tour does not take place.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand, Olonga said that the situation in his native country was no different that the apartheid regime in South Africa, and needed to be treated in a similar fashion. "This is a government that has consistently abused its own people," he said. "I'm disappointed the ICC hasn't shown more compassion with regard to what's happening in Zimbabwe."

Olonga urged ICC to change its hitherto inflexible stance with regard to teams touring Zimbabwe, keeping apartheid-era South Africa in mind. He said that when rebel tours took place, it felt like "that they were showing no concern for the people who were suffering under that oppressive regime." Olonga said that the situation was "immoral and the world somehow has to take a stance."