Zimbabwean TV talent show star faces UK deportation
A Zimbabwean singer who won the hearts of Britons with her performance on a TV talent show faces being deported from Scotland after her visa expired, immigration officials said Wednesday.
Gamu Nhengu, 18, wowed audiences in Britain with her singing on "The X Factor" and the decision to eliminate her from the show at the weekend triggered a storm of protest among her growing army of fans.
Her supporters have now been further enraged by the UK Border Agency's decision to turn down her family's application to stay in the country and remove them from their home in Tillicoultry, Scotland.
She had been allowed to stay in Britain as a dependant while her mother studied at university but her visa has now run out.
Lawmaker Gordon Banks, whose constituency includes Tillicoultry, demanded Scotland Minister Michael Moore take urgent action to ensure the Zimbabwean teenager was not sent back to Africa.
"As the local MP, I am ready to help in any way but Michael Moore is the man in charge and it is he who needs to bang heads together to sort this out," he said.
"I have written to him today to ask him to support this case personally."
Online campaigns have also been launched to protest plans to remove Nhengu from the country.
After her elimination from "The X Factor", more than 200,000 fans signed up to a Facebook page called Gamu Should Have Got Through.
"The X Factor" is a hugely popular televised singing contest that seeks to find the next big star and is watched by millions of Britons for the several months it is on each year.
A UK Border Agency spokesman said Wednesday that the application of Nhengu's mother Nokuthula Ngazana "was refused as it did not meet all of the conditions for approval.
"Her family, who had applied as her dependants, were therefore also refused."
© 2010 AFP