A press statement from Rooftop Promotions:
Police in Gweru Monday banned three performances of the play The Coup which is currently touring the country.
This is the second time that the law enforcement agents have banned the play. Police in Bindura were the first to place a ban on the play stating that it was “political”.
A request for clearance of the shows was sent on November 22 and when the team arrived in Gweru on Monday afternoon to prepare for the performance they were informed that the show was not cleared.
The reason given was the Police Internal Security Intelligence officer Marengere wanted to first view the recording of the play before he can issue the clearance.
Marengere wanted to perform the duty of the Censorship Board which goes through the content of any artistic work before they issue a certificate. The duty of the police is to maintain peace and order during public performances and not to censor artists.
The play was supposed to be performed at Lounge Bar on Monday at 5:30pm followed by another performance at Fairhill Farm on Tuesday at 1 pm and the last show at the Midlands Hotel at 5:30pm.
On Sunday the play was successfully performed at Amakhosi Cultural Square without any incidence. Over 70 people watched the play in Bulawayo.
“We are deeply worried by the continued suppression of artistic freedom and expression by the police who in this case are not the authority over any artistic work. The very same police force operating under the same Zimbabwean laws allowed the play to go on in Bulawayo.
It is high time that artists in this country unite and speak in unison against this unwarranted interference by the police. We will continue lobbying the Police General Headquarters to issue a generic clearance letter that covers all the provinces in the country,” said Daves Guzha