When Owen Maseko decided to explore President Mugabe-related violence, he thought it best to gather the photos of missing people, the pictures of the mine shafts where they are allegedly hidden, and the reports that document the 1980 massacre of thousands of civilians in the western Matabeleland district. But, the police in Zimbabwe weren’t very amused with the exhibit, and they quickly shut it down by cuffing Maseko on incitement charges.
Attorney Kucaca Phulu reported that his client spent the weekend in jail as a result of all of the excitement. Maseko reportedly sought bail the following Monday, but the courts postponed a ruling until Tuesday. The very next day, Harare Police reportedly pushed a human rights group to abandon another exhibit, which also employed photographs to illustrate the rampant Mugabean political violence. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who now works with Mugabe, condemned the police’s repeated attempt to seize the entire 65-photograph display. Tsvangirai believed that such exhibits were a portion of the campaign for national healing.
Today, with the death of Joshua Nkomo – Mugabe’s vice president – the allegiance is with Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change party. As more proponents for free-thought art jump onto Mugabe’s payroll, it grows ever more doubtful that a third violence exhibit will even have a chance to be torn back down.