Outspoken and talented sungura musician Hosiah Chipanga is fighting in Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi’s corner, saying the legendary musician could have performed at last week’s one million-man march under duress, considering the repressive nature of Zanu PF.
Mtukudzi took to the stage at the event that was organised by Zanu PF youth league in support of President Robert Mugabe’s “shrewd leadership” on Africa Day.
Despite Soul Jah Love and Mathias Mhere having performed at the same gathering, it was Mtukudzi who found himself in the eye of the storm, triggering a lot of debate among Zimbabweans.
Chipanga, a chief critic of Zanu PF, yesterday told The Standard Style that Mtukudzi could have been a “victim of circumstances”.
“Being a Zimbabwean, he knows how to deal with Zanu PF. He knew what could have been done to him if he had turned them down. Saka unongotamba iyoyo iri kurira. [You dance according to the tune]”
When asked if he would have performed at a Zanu PF event, had he been invited, Chipanga said: “In the past I took part at national galas organised by this regime and there was no way I could have turned them down as long as I got money out of that.
“However, I am no longer getting these invitations because of my lyrics which do not go down well with those in power. As musicians, we have ideas which can help move this country forward.
Chipanga, who is releasing a new album Gamba in a few weeks’ time, said Tuku’s performance at the million-man march does not mean that he is Zanu PF, considering that the Bvuma hitmaker performed at MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s wedding.
“Musicians sing for the people everywhere and anytime,” he said.
However, exiled musician Thomas Mapfumo told an online publication that Tuku’s performance at a Zanu PF event was confirmation that he supported the ruling party.
A number of local musicians have benefitted from their loyalty to Zanu PF.
Sulumani Chimbetu is a regular feature at First Lady Grace Mugabe’s functions while Jah Prayzah is a defence cultural ambassador for the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
The Tsviriyo hit-maker was given a Mercedes Benz worth $16 000 by Mutare businessman Esau Mupfumi, a Zanu PF legislator.
However, some people view Tuku’s performance at the one million-man march as payback to Mugabe — who according to the book Tuku Back Stage written by Shepherd Mutamba — the musician’s former publicist — offered a gift of $87 000-worth of state-of-the-art studio equipment to Mtukudzi.
“He [Tuku] told me about the gift and showed me the equipment that he kept under lock and key, right in his office and not in the store room,” Mutamba claimed.
The musician has disputed Mutamba’s claims.
Efforts to get comment from Mtukudzi were fruitless yesterday as he was said to be in South Africa.