WC 2003 - Flower, Olonga may get the whip for Mugabe-protest

Published: Tuesday, February 11, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Harare: Zimbabwe cricket chiefs are to consider what action to take against Andy Flower and Henry Olonga after both players donned black armbands in their World Cup match against Namibia and issued a powerful condemnation of the worsening conditions in their strife-torn nation.The fall-out from the pair's gesture overshadowed the side's opening win in the tournament at the Harare Sports Club.In the statement, they protested about what they describe as the "death of democracy.""We are deeply distressed about what is taking place in Zimbabwe and do not feel that we can take the field without indicating our feelings," they said."We cannot in good conscience ignore the fact that millions of our compatriots are starving, unemployed and oppressed."We are aware that many people have been unjustly imprisoned and tortured simply for expressing their opinions about what is happening in the country."We are also aware that people have been murdered, raped, beaten and had their homes destroyed because of their beliefs and that many of those responsible have not been prosecuted."The Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU), whose patron is President Robert Mugabe, said that they will review the comments of the two men and issue a statement as soon as they arrive at a decision.Zimbabwe skipper Heath Streak said that the Flower-Olonga statement was circulated among the players."My own view is that these two are perfectly entitled to their opinions. As the captain, I would have preferred no distractions, but they are quite entitled to take the action they did," he said.He also added that he was disappointed that England is determined to boycott its February 13th match because of its fears over security."All of our players will be disappointed not to be able to play in the England match. We would much rather have played the game than to be awarded extra points," Streak said.

Copyright AFP 2001

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