Kenyan gospel singer blasts UK embassy after visa denial
The artist took to Facebook blasting the embassy for “violated my integrity, character assassinated me and defamed me before my family, workmates, friends and the conference organizers.”
Kigame says he was officially invited by letter to speak at a Christian conference which was to take place in Ashford, Kent, in the United Kingdom from 31st July to 2nd August, 2015.
He says he went through the regular process of interview and he was asked to wait for a feedback.
When the UK embassy got back to him, they advised him that they had denied him the visa on grounds that he does not seem to have savings or assets in Kenya that would compel him to return.
“I note that you have submitted a letter of invitation from the UK however you have not submitted any evidence of your income, assets, savings or family ties to Kenya,” the letter read. “You do not appear to have any savings or assets of your own.”
Here is his post of Facebook in full.
I was officially invited by letter to speak at a Christian conference which was to take place in Ashford, Kent, in the United Kingdom from 31st July to 2nd August, 2015.
My hosts indicated that they would take care of my accommodation and travel costs for the four days. So, as the requirement goes and as I have done for the last twenty-seven years of travelling internationally, I applied for a visa, this time by filling the online form with the help of my wife, and paid the nonrefundable application fee of one hundred and thirty three U.S. dollars.
I took off a whole day, fueled my car and left Eldoret at 4:00 A.M. in order to attend some meetings in Nairobi before proceeding to the British High Commission in Westlands for an interview which we had scheduled online for 2:00 P.M.
The interview went smoothly and my passport and documents were received and assessed before being sent to South Africa for processing. I asked if they needed any other information or documents and I was told they had all they need. It would be 14 days or so before I could get a word.
I had another trip to continental Europe after the U.K. which I had to forego because the duration of processing the visa would cut too close to the time of leaving for the UK and hence no time to process application for my other trip. I began to work on the flight details and waited patiently for my passport.
I publish this here to the shame of the British High Commission and the Foreign Office for three main reasons: first, because the communication I received ended with the clauses to the effect that I had no right of appeal. Second, I want the whole world to know that the British High Commission violated my integrity, character assassinated me and defamed me before my family, workmates, friends and the conference organizers.
I have chosen to publish this now to also demonstrate that I was not desperate to travel to the UK and I did not want anyone to read this before the conference, lest it be viewed as a desperate online plea for someone from the Commission to reconsider my application. Lastly, I do this to give voice to countless others who go through this, every day, and say nothing. Needless to mention, the application fees are non-refundable.
This being an online platform, I will edit some sensitive aspects of the communication I received and share verbatim the response I received from one who simply signed their name as “G.W” and then I will make a few remarks:
I have refused your application for a visa because I am not satisfied that you meet the requirements of paragraph(s) V4.2 of appendix V: immigration rules for visitors because
- You have declared that you are self-employed earning KSH … (… pounds) per month and you are married with four children to support. You have stated that you intend to travel to the UK to attend a … of … Conference
- I note that you have submitted a letter of invitation from the UK however you have not submitted any evidence of your income, assets, savings or family ties to Kenya. This makes it difficult to assess your overall financial position or confirm your personal circumstances. You do not appear to have any savings or assets of your own and have not evidence that anyone is reliant on you in Kenya and this means that on the balance of probabilities that I am not satisfied that your ties to Kenya are sufficiently close to encourage you to leave the UK at the end of your proposed visit.
- You have also not submitted any evidence of your finance or funds available to finance your proposed visit
- I am therefore not satisfied that you will leave the UK at the end of your proposed visit. I am also not satisfied that you have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs in relation to your visit including the cost of your journey, any costs relating to dependents and the cost of any planned activities. Your application for a visit has been refused under paragraph V4.2(a) and 4.2(e)
Any future UK visa applications you make will be considered on their individual merits, however, you are likely to be refused unless:
- You’re personal circumstances change significantly between now and your next application.
- You provide compelling new evidence with your next application.
In relation to this decision, there is no right of appeal or right to administrative review.
Entry clearance officer, G.W. …”
Here are some deductions I made from this response sent to me in refusal of a visa to be in the U.K. for four days:
- Although the conference is meeting all my travel and accommodation costs, I cannot afford to go to the U.K.
- I need a specific amount of money in the bank for me to leave Kenya and travel to the U.K., implying that all who travel to the U.K. must have specific assets and savings.
- That my passport and online questionnaire details of having travelled around the world for more than twenty-seven years ,convinced them that I was finally desperate enough to settle in the U.K. after a short visit of only four days.
- That having a wife, three daughters and a son with full details of each, and having to list all my nine siblings including their dates of births, was proof that I did not have strong enough family ties to come back to Kenya.
The British High Commission has implied that I am a prospective Immigrant to the U.K. On what basis? That I will not come back after a short visit of four days; on what basis? That I have no strong family ties in Kenya; on what basis? That as a founder of a radio station and Gospel Minister who does not live on less than a dollar a day, I am unable to fend for my family and certainly unable to afford a trip to the UK, never mind that it is also fully funded. On what basis is that implication?
What do the conference organizers think of me after that refusal? What does my family think of me having travelled around the world more than twenty-seven times, only to apply to the UK and be denied on these grounds? What do my friends think of me? What does this do to my future applications to travel to the UK and other countries? On what basis was this decision made?
Is not any British government official concerned about this kind of reasoning? How many other people are being treated this way and just keep quiet?
Will somebody please apologize somewhere and take responsibility?
For the record, I love my country Kenya and am loved by many including the government of Kenya which awarded me the state commendation of Order of the Grand Warrior (OGW) in the year 2010. I am loved and needed by my wonderful family and a huge section of the Church in Kenya which appreciates the ministry I do. I am loved around the world and have even been offered jobs and persuaded to migrate, but have refused because my calling is here in Kenya. This is my home.
I want this known by Kenyans and the British in general. I actually do have places I like around the world and, for the record, with regard to Europe, I actually enjoy Continental Europe more. Germany is my favourite country in Europe. I have been to the U.S. nearly fifteen times. I have travelled to more than twenty states, but the U.S. is not my home. I have recorded and played with a Country Band in Indiana and love Amish and Mennonite cooking, but I have never imagined making a home in the US either.
Keep in mind that I asked at the High commission if they required any more documents and I was told “no, this is enough.”
I must confess I even asked myself whether my visual handicap, which I clearly stated in my application gave someone the impression that I was too needy and dependent on people to raise a family or be trusted to come back home from a speaking engagement!
This response from the British High Commission was awful and in bad taste and I want the whole world to know this. Never mind that I have been to and through the U.K. before! Alas!