SEVERAL artistes that had descended on Masvingo for the Great Zimbabwe International Festival scheduled for last weekend were left stranded after it failed to kick off due to logistical challenges.
BY TINASHE MUCHURI
Event organiser Eugene Majuru said they were forced to cancel the event after the police they had requested to be present at the event indicated they were knocking off since the arena was not full.
“According to our requirements, we requested for police from 10am to 10pm. Police claim they arrived at the venue at 7am. We had requested for 10 police officers, but they brought double the requested amount. We highlighted to them that the festival clearance was for two days and they insisted we had to apply for another clearance for the next day, but that was not going to be possible since it was weekend,” she said.
Majuru said when the organising team highlighted its intention to proceed with the programme until the following day, the police said it was not possible.
“The police officer in charge at the venue declared that he had cancelled the festival and would do everything possible to ensure the festival did not go ahead,” she said.
The officer commanding Masvingo Central district Chief Superintendent Percy Ndou had, however, given the greenlight for the festival in a letter addressed to festival co-ordinator, Roseline Mutare, and dated October 9.
“Notification has been noted in terms of Section 26(2) of the Public Order and Security Act (Posa) Chapter 11:17,” Ndou said in the letter. He specified a number of conditions the organisers were expected to observe during the festival.
Some of the artistes who had attended the show expressed disappointment at the turn of events and urged the organisers to do thorough planning ahead of such festivals.
Poet and writer Chirikure Chirikure said the situation was untenable when he arrived in Masvingo to discover there was no accommodation, forcing artistes to “squash in rooms” while “others slept in cars in the hotel’s carpark”.
Artistes including Albert Nyathi, Suluman Chimbetu, BaShupi, Afro Waves, Vedu, Tererai Mugwadi, Nesto and Tendai Chimombe were billed to perform at the festival.
Majuru said their legal team will look into the artistes’ contractual issues before the organisers map the way forward.