Bloomington, Indiana, USA – Oliver Mtukudzi has been caught in a
political crossfire on the eve of Zimbabwe’s parliamentary election. He issued a
statement that makes his position clear:
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. As a musician, I have been appalled that the Government has
used its monopoly of the airwaves to restrict airplay of artists who they see as
unsupportive of its policies. 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. This is a gross abuse of human rights, so many
of which have been violated in order to secure government’s grasp on power. Most
distressing is that the government has denied numerous Zimbabweans in the
Diaspora their democratic right to vote.Zimbabwe is a deeply divided society. The political divide often cuts across
family loyalties and ties, placing individuals in an impossibly difficult
position. Family and political loyalties may conflict and create underlying
personal tension, which in my case, has been exploited to try to portray my
political morality as being other than it is. Various subterfuges have been
used. 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. It is like an American Democratic Party
supporter being asked to sing happy birthday to his Republican brother and
suddenly finding the event being used in a Republican Party campaign ad.
Furthermore, I understand that one of my songs ‘Totutuma’ has just been used,
again without my permission, to promote a ZANU (PF) event in a manner that
suggested I would be performing at the event or that the event had my support.
Nothing could be further from the truth. 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. However, I hope that my fans are, by now, wise to such cynical
manipulation, which so seriously undermines our collective belief in a better
Zimbabwe. In return for my fans’ loyalty, the band and I hope to put on
unforgettable shows in our impending UK tour.”
[Read our editorial about music and politics in
For Your Supper].
Author: TJ Nelson
TJ Nelson is a regular CD reviewer and editor at World Music Central. She is also a fiction writer. Check out her latest book,
Chasing Athena’s Shadow.
Set in Pineboro, North Carolina,
Chasing Athena’s Shadow follows the adventures of Grace, an adult literacy teacher, as she seeks to solve a long forgotten family mystery. Her charmingly dysfunctional family is of little help in her quest. Along with her best friends, an attractive Mexican teacher and an amiable gay chef, Grace must find the one fading memory that holds the key to why Grace’s great-grandmother, Athena, shot
her husband on the courthouse steps in 1931.
Traversing the line between the Old South and New South, Grace will have to dig into the past to uncover Athena’s true crime.