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quashes police ban of theatre play
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
August 02, 2012
Jabulani Zinyati on Thursday 2 August 2012 quashed a police ban
on a national healing theatre play aimed at exhorting peace and
reconciliation after years of conflict in Zimbabwe.
came after Collin Maboke, a member lawyer of Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights (ZLHR) instituted urgent proceedings in the form of
an ex-parte application challenging the police ban of the play.
The police through
Chief Superintendent Nyapfuri, the Officer Commanding Zimbabwe Republic
Police Masvingo Central District had banned the public performance
of "No Voice No Choice", a production by two community
theatre groups, Edzai Isu Theatre Arts Project and Zvido Zvevanhu
The play, which
was nominated for the Outstanding Theatrical Production at the National
Arts Merits Award held in February2012, was scheduled to be staged
in Masvingo Province during the ongoing Youth Cultural Arts Festival.
The venues were Mucheke bus terminus and at Charles Austin Theatre
Hall on 2 August 2012 while the last performance in the province
was scheduled for 3 August 2012 at Rujeko Hall at 1pm.
In a letter
dated 1 August 2012 and addressed to versatile theatre practitioner
Tafadzwa Muzondo, the organizer of the event and the producer of
the play, Nyapfuri stated that the police could not sanction the
performance of the play "due to security reasons" which
he did not disclose.
But Maboke filed
an ex-parte application seeking to declare as unlawful the prohibition
of the theatre performance and to set aside the police order prohibiting
the public show of the play.
granted the application which also sanctioned the two theatre groups
to proceed with the staging of the drama performance as scheduled
so as to promote the organisation's right to freedom of association,
assembly and expression as set in the Constitution.
The police were
interdicted from disturbing or interfering in any way with the drama
performance to be held on Thursday and Friday and ordered to allow
the play to run uninterrupted.
This is the
third time in less than two years that ZLHR has had to intervene
in defence of theatre practitioners and artists' expression
last year, ZLHR fought on behalf of Rooftop
Promotions and obtained an interdict from Bulawayo Magistrate
Rose Dube barring the police from prohibiting
the theatre production group from staging a theatre performance
This was after
the police through Chief Superintendent R. N Masina of Bulawayo
Central Police Station had banned the public performance of Rituals
on the basis that they could not sanction the performance of the
play because the government was already attending to issues of national
healing through the Organ for National Healing, Reconciliation and
last year, ZLHR also successfully challenged the police ban of the
Gwanda-based Jahunda Community Theatre play entitled "1983,
the years before and after, a play on the past disturbances seeking
to establish true National Healing, true peace and true reconciliation."
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