BY SHARON SIBINDI
ONLINE streaming organisation CITE director and human rights activist, Zenzele Ndebele, is set to showcase his new documentary, Zimbabwe Shutdown: The January Protests, at Rainbow Hotel in Bulawayo on June 12.
The 45-minute long documentary was shot in different locations in the city and some of the shots were taken during the January 14 to 16 protests.
“The highlight of the documentary is that we are telling the story of what happened during the January shutdown. So, I am talking to the people whose shops were looted, I am talking to the people who were beaten up by the police and the soldiers,” Ndebele told Southern Eye Life & Style yesterday.
“You remember that after the looting, there was a crackdown. For days, soldiers and police went into people’s homes at night, randomly beating them up. We also talked to the shop-owners whose shops were looted.”
Ndebele, who is also a journalist, said he had observed a trend by the authorities to use violence to suppress alternative views in Zimbabwe.
“People might argue that there was looting, therefore, people needed to be controlled. But most of the people were beaten up in their homes days after the looting. So, the idea is just to tell the story that there is a pattern on how the Zimbabwean government has always ruled. It has always used force and coercion to rule,” he said.
Ndebele also observed the existence of a trend whereby the State regularly sponsors violence as was witnessed in August last year when the army shot at protesters, the 2008 political violence and the Gukurahundi massacres of the early to mid-1980s.
The human rights activist said they had applied for clearance from the police and were awaiting a response.
“Whether authorities are going to stop it or not, I am not sure. We have applied for police clearance and we are waiting for feedback. You have to remember that the law says we are
supposed to notify the police, and not to ask for permission from them and I believe that as a journalist, I have the right to actually show the audience what I do without the police telling me what I can and cannot do,” he said.
Ndebele said they were dealing with “a very paranoid government” and anything was possible.
Last year, Ndebele launched a documentary on the Gukurahundi genocide.