LAST week, I fleetingly touched upon the role of the musician or artist in society. I mentioned Winky D in particular and the troubles he has gone through with the powers that be.
It seems artists are at the whim of those that have some sort of power in Zimbabwe judging by what happened to one of them this past week.
Machete gang holds artist hostage
Finally the National Arts Council has spoken out against the persecution of artists, condemning the recent detention of Zimdancehall chanter Shinsoman by a machete-wielding gang in Chegutu.
The arts regulatory body called on law enforcement to increase security at public gatherings. The council has been quiet on what Winky D went through. At least they have finally found their voice.
Born Tinashe Romeo Anthony, Shinsoman, a dancehall musician, was performing at a show in Chegutu, Mashonaland West province, when armed men forced him to sing a song for hours on end.
I would sing too if I was facing machetes gleaming in the moonlight threatening my life. I would sing forever actually just to be safe! But I digress.
Reading the Bible at one time, I came across a verse in the book of Revelation which speaks about the abomination which causes desolation.As I have been looking at the events which have occurred in this country, I am left with no option but to conclude that the ruling party must be that abomination which causes desolation.
The chaos is happening on its watch. The machete gangs have sprouted and thrived under the regime’s nose.I know that our police are capable of getting their man should they wish to.
The police must have somehow shackled themselves to fail to curb the scourge of the machete gangs and stop them in their tracks.It was only until the gangs killed a member of the force.
Suddenly there is a realisation that the machete gangs pose an existential threat to national security.It is not a game anymore when not only cops but soldiers get murdered in the milieu. This machete gang story is truly convoluted with many baffling elements.
One thing is clear: someone up there is sponsoring these gangs. Where do the gangs get the audacity to even attempt to storm a police station to try to set one of their members free?
I know this government, when it wishes, can crush dissent or insurrection acts with a stone-cold ruthlessness, which is strangely missing when it comes to these gangs.
Ask the MDC or carjackers, regular murderers and robbers. The blame lies squarely on the state for the proliferation of these gangs. Power must be tempered with responsibility.
Last week, in Gweru’s Mkoba township, one of the machete gangs entered a Zaoga church and robbed congregants of their money (ZW$1 500) and US$20 and three cell phones.
I was astounded that they decided to try ‘gold mining’ in a church of God. What these events all put together indicate is that as far as these gangs are concerned, there are no sacred cows left.
What it also means is that no one is beyond their reach if they can invade holy ground and rob the temple of God.But this is the malady of the epoch: the love of money or in simple terms; corruption sired by lawlessness.
There is gold at the centre of it all and hundreds if not thousands of young men looking for fortune.I see puppetry, puppet masters and opportunism. I see a militia rising. I see a bloody future if these bandits continue unabated on their bloody and murderous path.
We are in the era of government by machete gangs. The gangs are in charge if they can do all these things and still roam wild and free. Who is benefitting from their existence is an elementary question in the bid to solve the mystery of their rise.
Any society which has no sacred cows is a society which cannot sustain itself in peace and prosperity. It is a society doomed.There must be a limit to the madness taking root across the country. Now what must the citizenry do in the wake of these machete gangs?
Should the citizenry or artists be sitting ducks, sheepishly waiting for the axes to grind against their skulls?
What should a reasonable and able bodied person do in the face of these attacks? Fight or flight?
Reportedly, the police have in the past simply refused to engage with the machete gangs to restore order.
Lately, after the murder of one of theirs I have heard proclamations by the police bosses of a readiness to shoot to kill the criminals but I do not know how far they can take the approach.
I actually read in a report that one gang in particular had an AK rifle. It is not farfetched to surmise that there may come a time when the gangs all have guns. I see militias rising if nothing gives.
Artists are not safe, church folk are not safe, police are not safe…No one is safe from machete gangs except maybe for the backers till they also are not safe. Violence begets violence and no one has a sole distributorship!