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Theatre director fears for his life

Charles Austin Theatre artistic director Leroy Gono is fearing for his life.


Gono, who is locked in a fierce salary dispute with Masvingo Drama Circle management committee, says strange things have been happening to him lately.

Sometime in January, unknown people broke into his office and on February 25, he returned from the Labour Court where his case had been referred to, only to find out that his house had been burgled.

“The things that have been happening to me lately are out of the ordinary,” Gono said.

“I went back home to get something to give to my legal representative and found that my house had been broken into through the back door.”
Gono alleges that whoever unlawfully entered his house was not just an ordinary thief, since all documents that were in his drawers and cupboards had been taken away.

“The search was for something particular. All my documents were tampered with and some of the documents I had been using in the Labour Court dispute were stolen, together with some of my personal documents,” he said.

“I reported the matter to the police who concluded that it was a professional job as it was hard for them to get fingerprints.”

When police were investigating the unlawful entry into Gono’s house, they discovered a plant of dagga at the back of his house.

The discovery led to his arrest on allegations that he was growing the plant for personal consumption.

“I slept in the cells on Tuesday night and was released the following day,” Gono said.

Gono however, denied planting the dagga plant at his home.
The Standard spoke to Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), lawyer Collen Maboke who is representing Gono and he confirmed that his client was facing charges of cultivating mbanje.

“His first charge was based on the allegation that he [Gono] had planted a dagga plant at the back of his house for personal consumption,” he said.

“The plant was discovered as a result of the investigation of the unlawful entry and theft at Gono’s premises.”

Maboke also said Gono had informed him that some of his documents that he had been using for the arbitration process had been stolen on the fateful day.

Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Peter Zhanero confirmed Gono’s arrest for allegedly cultivating dagga at his house.

“I can confirm that Gono was arrested for cultivating mbanje at his home,” said Zhanero.

“He attended court today [February 28] and the case has been postponed”.

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