Gukurahundi charges dropped

The acting Bulawayo Art Gallery director, Voti Thebe, who was being accused of illegally displaying material on Gukurahundi atrocities by artist, Owen Maseko had the charges against him withdrawn.

On Friday, the state withdrew charges against Thebe before plea. Maseko had already made an application to the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of his arrest over the material.

Thebe was being charged with displaying the Gukurahundi material without clearance from the Censorship and Entertainment Board.

It was alleged that police officers went to the art gallery on March 26 and found the Gukurahundi material on display.

The material contained statues and inscriptions describing the Fifth Brigade operations in rural Matabeleland and Midlands.

They also depicted the signing of the Unity Accord between Zanu PF and PF Zapu in 1987.

Some of the inscriptions read: “Who can forgive and forget about Gukurahundi? All Ndebeles are dissidents. In our country, perpetrators of violence still hold powerful positions and survivors remain afraid.

This wound is huge and deep . . .”

There were also images of bodies hanging upside down with blood dripping from the legs.

It was being alleged that Thebe, in his capacity as the regional director and the exhibition manager at Bulawayo Art Gallery, did not have the permission to exhibit the material.

The material was said to be undesirable, contrary to the interest of the defence, public order and safety, public health and morals.

Thebe was then arrested but was not formally charged when he appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Sikhumbuzo Nyathi.

Maseko, the artist who was exhibiting the material, has since applied to the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of his arrest and the matter is awaiting determination.

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