POLICE in Gweru this week banned three performances of the play, The Coup.
The play, which is currently on national tour, suffered a similar fate last week in Bindura.
In Bindura the police cited the play as “political” despite getting a green light from the censorship board.
On both occasions, the police had initially cleared the play only to make a U-turn at the last minute.
Producers of the play said a request for clearance of the shows was sent on November 22.
Upon arrival in Gweru, the producers say, the team was informed that their show was not cleared.
In Gweru, the play was supposed to run at Lounge Bar on Monday, at Fairhill Farm on Tuesday and the last show at the Midlands Hotel.
On Sunday, the play was successfully performed at Amakhosi Cultural Square without any incidents with over 70 people watching.
Daves Guzha, director of Rooftop Promotions yesterday expressed dismay over the ban.
He said he was deeply worried by the police’s continued suppression of artistic freedom.
“The police in this case are not the authority over any artistic work,” he said.
“The very same police force operating under the same Zimbabwean laws allowed the play to go on in Bulawayo.
“It is high time 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.”
In August this year, Tafadzwa Muzondo’s award winning No Voice No Choice was also banned by the police in Chimanimani.
Initially, Masvingo police tried to stop it during the Youth Cultural Arts Festival in August, but Muzondo appealed and an interdict was granted.
After that, the Chimanimani Arts Festival organisers were threatened by State security into cancelling the play’s run with the official ban coming on August 21.
Muzondo said this was a deliberate clampdown on freedom of expression ahead of next year’s make or break elections.
“It is high time theatre practitioners came together to petition the National Arts Council and the, powers, that be to intervene,” he said.
“We cannot have a nation where people have to think alike on everything and those that think differently get banned”.
He said diversity is the essence of inclusivity and for this to happen in the era of the inclusive government leaves a lot to be desired.