Govt targets artists in fresh censorship blitz

By Court Reporter

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 9:am, when they returned to Harare Central Police Station and
upon the arrival of their lawyers.