Zimbabwe Bans Award-Winning Documentary

HARARE – The Government of Zimbabwe, through the Censorship Board, has banned an award-winning documentary which chronicles the 2013 Constitution-making process in the Southern African nation.


The documentary, titled “Democrats” and featuring MDC-T secretary general Douglas Mwonzora (pictured) and the ruling Zanu PF’s Paul Mangwana, who were both part of the constitution-making process, has won more than 15 international awards.

The ban followed an application by Upfront Films for permission to distribute the documentary in Zimbabwe.

The Censorship Board turned down the application, saying the documentary was not fit for local consumption.

The censorship board’s Acting Secretary, Isaac Chiranganyika, wrote to Upfront Films on March 10 and copied Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Melusi Matshiya and Police Commissioner General, Augustine Chihuri.

“The board of censors, after reviewing the DVD Democrats, recommended that the DVD remains banned and prohibited in Zimbabwe because it is not suitable for public showing as previously recommended.”

Mwonzora on Monday scoffed at the ban, telling a local newspaper that it was ironic that Zimbabwe was banning the documentary.

He said they would contest the ban at the Constitutional Court, adding it contained the truth that the people of Zimbabwe wanted to see.

“It is oppressive to ban it because they (government) don’t want the truth in that documentary to be shown,” Mwonzora said.

Mangwana, however, told the same publication that the ban was justified as the documentary depicted President Robert Mugabe as a dictator.

“It is a documentary of what was transpiring and the editors chose what part to put in it and it is up to the board to decide. I know there are excerpts which depict the President as a dictator and it could be those offensive excerpts that made it banned,” he was quoted as saying.

In 2009, artist Owen Maseko was arrested and had his Gukurahundi exhibition at the National Gallery in Bulawayo closed by the police soon after it had premiered.

 The exhibition detailed the 1980s Gukurahundi atrocities in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

The Constitutional court, however, ruled that his arrest was unconstitutional.


Africa News Agency