ZANU PF’s warring factions are tussling over Jah Prayzah’s hit song, Mudhara Vachauya, which has also become a theme song at President Robert Mugabe’s recent rallies.
When the song was released sometime last year, it caught the attention of many who associated it with Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa in his battle to succeed the 93-year-old leader, amid serious opposition from another camp Generation 40 (G40).
But its infectious beat and the message it carries, has coincidentally fitted well into the Zanu PF political matrix. Loosely translated, the title of Jah Prayzah’s song means “the old man in coming” although the word “mudhara” is street lingo used to refer to a generally superior and powerful person.
It is in this context that the Zanu PF members believe such a superior and powerful person coming is in the mould of Mnangagwa. But to counter this assertion, the G40 has also latched on the song, which is now the “theme song” at Mugabe’s rallies currently taking place across the country.
The rallies are being organised by the youths, as Mugabe seeks to drum up support ahead of next year’s elections. Before he addresses these rallies, Mudhara Vachauya is played as Mugabe makes his way to the podium, much to the amusement of many, who believe the 93-year-old is the best suited man being referred to in the song.
But it is the catchy lyrics from the lanky musician’s song that have left many with little if no doubt that the song was meant for Mnangagwa.
In the song, the praise is on an ultimate father figure — of the Shumba totem — who is expected to change economic fortunes of the underprivileged in society.
Zimbabwe’s economy has virtually collapsed due to the high unemployment rate, power shortages, massive company closures and a serious cash crisis that has sparked a wave of anti-Mugabe protests across the country. This has resulted in social commentators linking Jah Prayzah’s song to Mnangagwa, who is of the Shumba totem and is seen as heir-apparent to the throne following the axing of former Vice President Joice Mujuru.
But in this case, some fans believe that the title and the lyrics that say “mudhara wacho ishumba inoruma” (the superior and powerful man is a lion that bites) is the artiste’s way of telling the nation that Mnangagwa will soon upstage G40 rivals to replace Mugabe.
The Midlands godfather, who is believed to have strong military links, is alleged to be leading a faction known as Team Lacoste that is angling to succeed Mugabe but has had spanners thrown into his path to State House by the G40.
However, Jah Prayzah who ironically is the brand ambassador of the Zimbabwe National Army — whose boss General Constantino Chiwenga is believed to be backing Mnangagwa’s presidential ambitions — dismissed suggestions that the song was pregnant with undertones of succession politics in Zanu PF.
“There is nothing political about that song. It is clear that it is a love song in which the husband is telling his wife that she should shun other men who ask her out when he is away by telling them that mudhara vachauya, Jah Prayzah said while speaking to our sister paper the Daily News late last year.
There has always been a connection between music and politics, particularly political expression in song since time immemorial.
But while music influences political movements, it is not often clear to the musician how or to what extent general audiences relate to these songs on the political level.