Chimurenga music legend Thomas Mapfumo has thrown his weight behind South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema, who last week said it was high time that President Robert Mugabe steps down.
By Moses Mugugunyeki and Edgar Gweshe
Malema addressed the media in Braamfontein, South Africa last Monday where he urged the soon to be 93-year-old leader to relinquish power. The firebrand EFF leader said Mugabe could not even control a spade, therefore he was no longer capable of discharging his responsibilities.
However, his utterances did not go down well with some Zanu PF members, who dismissed Malema’s call on their leader to step down.
On Friday, Mapfumo came out guns blazing, rallying behind Malema whom he said spoke the truth about Zimbabwe.
“I tend to agree with Malema. I think he gave a perfect description of us Zimbabweans, that we are a bunch of cowards. Cowards are not only in Zanu PF, but the majority of us. Malema spoke the truth. Everyday Mugabe and his cronies are looting and yet no one is challenging that,” Mapfumo said in an exclusive interview with The Standard Style.
The Chimurenga music maestro who is finalising his forthcoming album said Zimbabweans, including himself, should not sit on their laurels while the country is “burning”.
“There is a lot of corruption happening and only yesterday [Thursday] I was reading on the internet that Zimbabwe was now among the top five most corrupt countries in the world. Grace Mugabe is busy buying expensive rings costing millions of dollars using ‘looted’ money but no one is challenging that. Why are people silent?” said the singer who is now based in Oregon in the United States.
The Vanhu Vatema hitmaker also took a swipe at MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai whom he described as a “useless and selfish leader”.
“Tsvangirai is useless. He won in the 2008 elections but later joined the government of national unity taking over the prime minister’s position. That shows how selfish he is. What kind of leader is that? Why doesn’t he step down and give a young leader a chance so that he can rest because I heard he is not well? He is like Mugabe who is holding on to power,” he said.
“I can’t even talk of [Joice] Mujuru because she still idolises Mugabe and sees nothing wrong in him. I believe the current crop of opposition leaders has run out of ideas. We want leaders who stand for the masses. Leaders like [Tanzania’s president John] Magafuli and Thomas Sankara [Burkina Faso’s revolutionary hero] are good examples of selfless and revolutionary leadership that our continent needs. If Africa had such kind of leaders, surely our continent would have been far.”
On the formation of a coalition by opposition political parties, Mapfumo said the idea was good but will not benefit the ordinary man on the street.
“It is a good idea, but I think it’s a sheer waste of time because Mugabe has rigged — the playing field is not even. A coalition should be about the masses and not leaders and it won’t work. Whom will it benefit?”
The fearless singer described war veterans as mercenaries, who are after nothing but money.
“They are the same people who caused this situation when they demanded money for going to war. Why should you be paid if you were fighting for people? They are mercenaries concerned about their pockets. Their patron is a thief and we have not heard that they have chased him, meaning they still love him,” he said.
“Zimbabweans should not be fooled by the so-called factions in Zanu PF because those are the same people and they will not change. Wait and see when the elections come. I bet you won’t hear any of these factions, it will be one Zanu PF and they always unite to defend their loot. War veterans should first apologise to Zimbabweans for the violence they caused during past elections if people are to believe them.”
Mapfumo, whose music has rubbed the government the wrong way, said his latest project — a 12-track album — would be released on Independence Day. He said one of the tracks on the album Chauya Chauya kuZimbabwe Kusiri Kufa Ndekupi has a significant political impact on Zimbabwe and provides power for positive change and unity.