Bvute banned from entering Australia
Ozias Bvute, the controversial managing director of Zimbabwe Cricket, has been banned from entering Australia
Ozias Bvute: unwelcome in Australia
, the controversial managing director of Zimbabwe Cricket, has been banned from entering Australia following the government's release of 75 new individuals it claims are associated with the regime of Robert Mugabe.
Peter Chingoka, the ZC chairman, was already barred from entering the European Union before the Australian government added him to their list on Monday
, but it now emerges that Bvute, who many inside Zimbabwe claim is a far more political figure, has also been targeted.
Bvute, who has no discernible background in cricket, first appeared in 2002, with his arrival heralding the politicisation of a board which had until then been largely independent. He was the individual who forcibly removed Henry Olonga from the Zimbabwe team bus after the black-armband protest during the 2003 World Cup, and he has made no secret of his political links and associates when dealing with journalists and players. He is widely regarded as the real power inside Zimbabwe cricket and the man who led the purge of white and Asian players and administrators, as well as the removal of anyone unsympathetic to his own beliefs.
The action of the Australian government leaves the ICC looking increasingly out of touch, maintaining as it does that ZC is apolitical when other, possibly more informed, bodies are deciding its senior figures have links to the Zanu-PF regime.
"It's a welcome move," Olonga told the Voice of America. "What is does do is to put a lot of pressure on the ICC and makes all the big heavies there scratch their heads about the issue of having Zimbabwe in the elite group ... it seems they are more trouble than they are worth."
There are moves to have Bvute added to the list of Mugabe associates banned from the EU, but more worrying for him is that Cricinfo has learned he is also under the scrutiny of the US authorities. Bvute's family are understood to be living in the USA and he is thought to own property there, so any assets would be frozen were he to be added to the list of those deemed undesirable by US immigration.
Given that Bvute is on the ICC's chief executives' committee, the latest news means that Australia will be unable to host any such future meetings. The ICC executive board meeting due to be held in Perth at the end of January is already likely to be switched to Dubai following the announcement of Chingoka's ban.
Steven Price is a freelance journalist based in Harare