No Voice No Choice appeals to Home Affairs

HARARE - Lawyers representing award-winning theatre practitioner Tafadzwa Muzondo have finally filed an appeal with the Appeal Board against the banning of his play No Voice No Choice.

Muzondo appealed, as set out in Section 19 of the Censorship and Entertainment Control Act, after struggling to locate the Appeal Board for more than a month.

 It was understood that as it stands the lawyers could not submit the appeal with the prescribed fees as no one is aware how much the set fees are.

“The Appeal Board has not set since 2009 and so the appeal was lodged through the permanent secretary of Home Affairs on October 18 and as of today (yesterday), we have not been furnished with the prescribed fee for the application yet the law says no appeal shall be entertained by the Appeal Board until such fees have been paid”, says Tawanda Zhuwara of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights representing Muzondo alongside Belinda Chinowawa also of ZLHR.

Expressing shock at the state of affairs, Muzondo, the writer, director and producer of the play said, “I am shocked to learn that the Appeal Board has not set since 2009 and hope that the relevant ministry will understand that such a situation does not work in our favour as artists who have been stopped from practising our source of livelihoods.

“We have already missed on Intwasa Arts Festival even though the Board of Censors had approved that schedule earlier and we are continuing to miss out on other opportunities to stage the play in the country.

“Considering that this play was banned after being staged without any problems and a lot of issues in the industry that are to do with Censorship, I honestly believe that the Board owes it to the industry and the nation not to be a reactive but proactive board to avoid suffocating creativity hence destroying the emerging arts industry in the country”

“Most regulating authorities have adopted a proactive approach where they reach out to the people to prevent crime yet the Board of Censors and the entire structures of the Censorship and Entertainments Control Act only come to surface when they are banning plays.

“I was moderating a workshop recently with artists in Masvingo organised by Artists for Democracy in Zimbabwe Trust and most artists said they did not know where the Board is as they only hear of it when plays are banned”, continued Muzondo.

EDZAI ISU Theatre Arts Project and Zvido Zvevanhu Arts Ensemble could not stage the much anticipated performances of No Voice No Choice at Intwasa Arts Festival at the end of September this year after High Court Judge Justice Gurainesu Mawadze ruled that the urgent chamber application filed to lift the ban before Intwasa  could not be treated as urgent.

And now with the Appeal Board in shambles, chances that the Zimbabwean populace will ever see this creative and innovative Nama Outstanding Theatrical Production nominee now hinge on how urgently the Home Affairs ministry responds to the appeal. - Entertainment Writer

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