MUSICIAN Oliver Mtukudzi has fired a broadside at the Zanu-PF government accusing it of manipulating his songs for political mileage ahead of the parliamentary election set for Thursday next
He said he was appalled by the government’s attempt to monopolise the airwaves and impose a blackout on artists who “they see as unsupportive of their policies”.
Mtukudzi had this week come under heavy criticism from the public and the media after he featured in a gala to celebrate Vice-President Joyce Mujuru’s appointment. But this week the musician took a rare swipe at the government using artists to boost its waning fortunes. He also distanced himself from the government’s propaganda machinery.
“Following recent press reports, I wish to place on record and make absolutely clear that I am not a Zanu PF supporter. I am a loyal Zimbabwean who believes in a true and tolerant democracy,” Mtukudzi said.
He described the blackout on critical musicians as a gross abuse of human rights.
“People who do not promote government’s image are often seen as being enemies of the government and attempts are made to silence them or undermine their careers,” he said.
“This is a gross abuse of human rights, so many of which have been violated in order to secure government’s grasp on power.”
Mtukudzi said it was distressing that the government had denied Zimbabweans abroad the right to vote.
He said it was Zanu-PF which had hijacked a private family function where he had been invited to play.
“A request to sing a few solo songs at what I understood would be a private gathering of relatives was turned into a Zanu PF event, and, without warning or permission, filmed and broadcast,” said Mtukudzi.
“It is like an American Democratic Party supporter being asked to sing happy birthday to his Republican brother and suddenly finding the event used in the Republican Party’s campaign ad.”
Mtukudzi also said his popular song Totutuma had been used without his permission to promote Zanu PF.
“I believe that this is a deliberate strategy to undermine my popularity as a singer and to prevent my songs from being used as a rallying point for those who believe in a true and tolerant democracy,” Mtukudzi said.
Simon Chimbetu, Andy Brown and Brian Mteki have seen their sales plunge on the back of a systematic boycott of their music by the market following their leap aboard the Zanu PF gravy train.
Mtukudzi becomes the second big name in Zimbabwean music to open up on the government after exiled singer Thomas Mapfumo recorded his protest music berating Mugabe’s regime.