Zimbabwe: Govt Targets Artists in Fresh Censorship Blitz

press release

ZIMBABWE Republic Police (ZRP) officers have charged four prominent artists with contravening the draconian Censorship and Entertainments Control Act after they allegedly exhibited an unsanctioned film.

ZRP officers charged Daves Guzha, the Director of Rooftop Promotions, Peter Churu, the Manager of Theatre in the Park Tendai Humbasha Maduwa, a film producer and Kudakwashe Brian Bwititi, a film script writer with contravening section 9(1)(a) of the Censorship and Entertainments Control Act.

Prosecutor Sebastian Mutizira alleged that Guzha, Churu, Maduwa and Bwititi publicly exhibited and launched a film titled "The Lord of Kush" at Theatre in the Park in Harare on Saturday 27 July 2019, which had not been approved by the Board of Censors.

Mutizira charged that the quartet launched the film, which has some undesirable contents as they depicted the abduction of a child of a Zimbabwean Ambassador to Pakistan by some unnamed religious group without first applying to the Censorship and Entertainments Control Unit.

The prosecutor said if launched and shown to the world, the film would invoke conflicts among religious groups.

Guzha, Churu, Maduwa and Bwititi, who were represented by Tinomuda Shoko and Moses Nkomo of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, were each granted bail amounting to ZWL$200 by Harare Magistrate Barbra Mateko, who remanded them out of custody to Thursday 29 August 2019.

In court, the artists' lawyers raised complaints several complaints against ZRP officers whom they accused of apprehending them without informing them of the reasons of their arrest and were also detained from Saturday evening to early Sunday morning for several hours without any charges being preferred against them. Guzha, Churu, Maduwa and Bwititi were only charged with the offence of contravening section 9(1)(a) of the Censorship and Entertainments Control Act on Sunday around 9am, when they returned to Harare Central Police Station and upon the arrival of their lawyers.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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