HARARE – Former education minister, Aeneas Chigwedere, is widely regarded as a hard-nosed traditionalist steeped in African cultural norms.
The case currently at the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe in which Chigwedere is being accused of witchcraft by his son, has further reinforced the perception that the ex-education minister is still stuck in old-world culture.
It is therefore not surprising that Chigwedere’s appointment as the chairman of the Board of Censors by Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo has triggered alarm in some circles.
Though the board also includes fairly young members, many artistes fear that Chigwedere will gang up with the old members like Chief Nyamukoho and Father Fidelis Mukonori to take the arts sector back to the old ages.
But Chigwedere appears not moved by the furore around his appointment which has come nearly a decade after he left the Zimbabwe government.
The ex-minister told the Daily News yesterday that the panic that has been triggered by his appointment to the Board of Censors “is misplaced and unwarranted.”
“There is no need to panic because we will be objective. People should wait. They should see our set-up and plans first before judging prematurely,” Chigwedere told the Daily News.
He added that he had been left wondering why artists and members of the public have suddenly gone into panic mode.
“The Board of Censors has always been there. So why is there sudden panic? The truth of the matter is that people are afraid of personalities and not the Board of Censors. But like I have said there is no need to fear because we will be objective and professional,” the ex-education minister said.
In addition to Chigwedere, the other members of the Board of Censors are President Robert Mugabe’s daughter, Bona Mugabe-Chikore, national police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba, Bulawayo Metropolitan provincial administrator Konzani Ncube ,Shingai Rukwata Ndoro as well as lawyers Chenjerai Daitai and Tungamirai Muganhiri.
Though Chigwedere insisted that his board will drive a positive agenda, he conceded that the Board of Censors could require a name change.
“We will certainly make an effort to propose a more positive name,” he said, adding that the agenda for the just-installed Board of Censors will be crafted at a workshop set for next month.
“It will be an induction workshop for the board members. We will have relevant and knowledgeable resource persons. The workshop will help formulate our programme of action. The workshop will certainly take place before the end of August.”