A MYRIAD of Zimbabwean celebrities have joined the growing chorus of voices urging President Robert Mugabe to step down.
By Kennedy Nyavaya
A spate of anti-Mugabe protests have rocked the country since the beginning of the month, with groups of discontented people calling on Mugabe to relinquish power. However, the 92-year-old leader last Wednesday, while addressing Zanu PF supporters in Harare, lashed out at those who have been protesting against him and his government. He said they were being supported by foreign powers — and should leave Zimbabwe immediately.
While Zimbabweans vented their anger against the government through protests organised by the opposition MDC-T party and citizens’ movements like #ThisFlag and #Tajamuka/Sesjikile, celebrities took to social media, adding their voices in calls for Mugabe and Zanu PF to relinquish power.
News anchor on South Africa’s SABC2 Morning Live, Peter Ndoro posted on Twitter that: “I’m so proud of the solidarity Zimbabweans are showing at great risk, selflessly in the face of adversity #ThisFlag.”
He further condemned arrests against activists, stating that the State apparatus have gone to the dogs by misplacing their priorities.
“It’s disgraceful what authorities are doing to citizens that speak out against suffering…” he twitted.
“The liberation struggle was to free citizens from oppression, not further subjugate them.”
Ndoro was born in Zimbabwe and worked for ZBC before he moved to South Africa.
Renowned actor Silvanos Mudzvova, who hogged the limelight with the controversial $15 billion dollar play, denounced the regime in a number of posts on Facebook.
“I will do my part to liberate the suffering masses of Zimbabwe. Play your part as well, no matter how small it might be. Liberating Zimbabwe from Mugabe’s regime is a high priority at the moment. Do it for your kids, do it for better health facilities, do it for employment, do it for freedom of speech or just do it for fun. Together we can do it.
Aluta Continua,” read one of Mudzvova’s Facebook post.
Musician and actress Kudzai Sevenzo too could not contain her dismay as she took to Twitter: “Praying for all the brave men and women in Zimbabwe who have taken a stand for justice. Wherever you are… let your light continues to shine!” she posted early this month and followed up with advice for youths to register to vote in the next elections.
“Urgent! Young people please register to vote!! #YourVoteCounts.”
Self-exiled Chimurenga music maestro Thomas Mapfumo, who is known for being critical of the government, also weighed in and took a scathing attack on Mugabe.
“Mugabe haasi muridzi wenyika [Mugabe does not own the country]. He does not own people. Now he sounds like he owns people and the land. Haasi kuziva murongero wevanhu. Muregei [He does not know how people operate. Let him continue],” he tweeted.
Mapfumo relocated to the United States in 2001 after a fallout with the government because his songs were viewed as sharp criticism of Mugabe’s administration.
A number of gospel musicians also took their thoughts to action as they expressed their anger over the arrest of #ThisFlag movement frontman Evan Mawarire.
Takesure Zamar was among hordes of Zimbabweans who thronged the Harare Magistrate’s Courts in solidarity with Mawarire. Pastor G and Mudiwa Mutandwa also took to social media to raise their concern over Mawarire’s arrest.
Meanwhile, Zora music genius Leonard Zhakata has distanced himself from a post on a Twitter account under his name.
The singer told The Standard Style on Friday that there was a lot of misinterpretation in some songs on his recently released album Mutunga Dzose.
The tweet had a link to one of his songs with a message written: “Tinzwei mambo (hear us Lord). Message in solidarity with the citizen movement. #ThisFlag.”
There has been wide debate over songs like the title track Mutunga Dzose and Tinzweiwo Mambo, with many saying that they propelled politically-charged connotations.
In Tinzweiwo Mambo, Zhakata prays to God for a responsible and God-chosen leadership, free of corruption.
“I am not prepared to respond to that right now, but there has been a lot of misinterpretations on some of the songs,” he said, requesting questions to be emailed to him but had not replied by the time of going to print.
This is not the first time the soft-spoken musician’s songs have been labelled as being superficially laced in political rhetoric as hits like Sakunatsa come quickly to mind.