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Producer sues Ezekiel Mutua for banning her movie in Kenya

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By Annette Amondi

Producer Wanuri Kahiu is suing the Kenya Film Classification Board  for banning her film “Rafiki”.

Wanuri is demanding a total of Ksh 8.5 million in the lawsuit.

Wanuri took up the lawsuit to allow her to submit the film for the Oscar nomination whose deadline is on September 30.

For Rafiki to be nominated for the coveted award KFCB needs to lift the ban first so that it can showcase in Kenya.

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Oscar nomination requires the film to submitted to be shown in the submitting country first.

According to Kahiu by preventing the distribution of Rafiki, the board violated several articles of the constitution that protect free speech and freedom of creative expression.

“If this matter is not certified urgent and heard on a priority basis, it would be rendered nugatory because Ms Kahiu’s film would be left out of the competition,” her lawyers Waikwa Wanyoike and Sofia Rajab-Leteipan have said

Rafiki’ is the story of two young girls who have a romantic relationship but is strongly condemned and opposed by their families and community. The film became a huge controversy after Ezekiel Mutua, the CEO of the board banned it early this year. Wanuri said she’s just fighting for her creativity to be seen.

“I don’t necessarily consider myself an activist; I truly consider myself a storyteller.But when somebody starts to infringe on your rights to be creative and exercise your work, which becomes a problem. That’s when we decided to push back and take the Classification Board to court,” Wanuri said at the Toronto International Film Festival, where the film premiered in North America on Thursday