Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Prom Nights | Prom King | Zimbabwe's pillars of tyranny

For decades, Zimbabwean politics has unraveled like a 50s Hollywood horror movie playing in slow motion. The good guys have been losing (even when they win) only to hopelessly watch as the bad guys take the coveted throne in the fashion of a hunky-rugby-playing-bully scooping your crush from right under your nose. Broken-heartedly, we have been forced to contend with the bullies taking Prom King Title at every prom night.

Since 1980, the baton has changed hands in the most ludicrous fashion: from Mugabe to Mugabe. We have been made to watch a repeat coronation of the same man (only older & more senile) at the same State House uttering the same paraphrased speech, same promises and as expected, with the same results.

The question one would be asking is not how the Prom King (now way past his prime) has retained his throne but rather how we have failed to wrestle the crown of our freedom from his clutches. We need to understand how we have managed to let one man chart our destiny. How have we failed to derail this train of corruption & rottenness? How have we managed to keep oiling the cogs of this chariot of injustice?

We have let politicians become the Zimbabwean gods. We have waited for them to do everything for us. Both opposition and rural party politicians have enjoyed undue attention compared to how much they have delivered. Already, with elections almost a year away, we are seeing heightened political activity. Issues of national development have become A.O.B as the agenda becomes Mugabe, Tsvangirai, Mujuru, Biti and recently Nkosana Moyo. To some, these politicians are infallible immortals sent from the Heavens to rule us.

Mistakes have been made since 1980 yet we still believe every of their words. They have harassed us, mass murdered us, divided us into tribes and classes, plundered our resources and lead us into poverty. They have brought economic plague upon plague on us. ESAP, sanctions, Bacossi, ZimASSET, etc are all examples of bad decisions made by a conceited people lacking in vision, commitment and tact.

These are the laundry machines where minds are brainwashed before politicians deposit their bigotry.  In this era of social media and multiple sources of information (some of which they leak themselves), propaganda (now christened “Fake News”) has become less effective. Propaganda has left state media & government with egg in the face on most occasions. Enter the profit-seeking prophets.

These ‘men of gold’ have turned their followers into but a mass of politically impotent imbeciles. Young, energetic, intelligent and competent people have been disenfranchised from their political selves leaving incompetent money-chasing laggards to rule our land. We have let these magicians hypnotize us to the extent of believing that 90% of Zimbabweans are unemployed because of the ‘spirit of unemployment’. That way, we have exonerated the politicians from any wrong doing. Instead of confronting the authorities on poor service delivery, we bend our knees and look to the Heavens. We question God on why people are dying from curable diseases yet we can’t ask the authorities why there are no medicines at public hospitals and clinics.

In a 21st century Zimbabwe, police officers at roadblocks, crime scenes, most police stations and outposts are still using pen and paper. Little is recorded digitally. Police training remains 6 months with teargas & spike throwing the only additions to an archaic curriculum. Whether by design or incompetent leadership, policing in Zimbabwe has gone from pathetic to unprofessional.

Who will deliver justice when the very law enforcers have turned away from the law? We connive with the officers to steal from ourselves. A police officer who now sees his uniform as a key card to our pockets & wallets will work the hardest to maintain the status quo. As long as we are ready to pay the bribes at roadblocks, corrupt officers will work hard to stop us from speaking up. We have the pockets that are fueling corruption. We have the pockets that are cushioning these officers by unlawfully augmenting their low salaries. We are the people that are incentivizing rottenness. If we stop paying the bribes, the hunger pains will force our officers to act professionally. They will stop their spike throwing antics and the teargas canisters will become too heavy to lift.

These are the pillars keeping our banana republic rolling. We need to deny them the attention, bribes and self-enrichment opportunities.  It’s our duty to limit their influence on our minds, hearts and pockets so we can think and act independent of them. Let’s make their lives as less plush and less comfy as we can. We need to demystify them and expose their apparent heroism as myth.

In other words, we have to make them feel human. That way, they will feel our pain, our fear, our disappointment and soon they will begin to share our desires, convictions and vision till they walk with us and cry the same cry. They will become one with us then we will obliterate this Babylon.

For the good of the Republic!

Monday, 6 February 2017

2016 songs that tell the Zimbabwean political story

Zimbabwe is a nation on the cusp. Some say we are reaching the boiling point but from the looks of it, we are already in a boiling pot. From massive scandals like the disappearance of $15billion to the cash crisis that’s seen people spending more time at bank queues and the unfortunate herald of the return of the Bond note to the recent Bicycle-gate mixed with shutdowns and protests in and outside the country, the future of the republic is uncertain.

Citizens are always on the alert for the next teargas moment (or the Choppies moment) whilst republican police have made the baton (button sticks) and helmets part of their uniform. Catching thieves, pickpockets, murderers or burglars is the last on ZRP duty list. If they aren’t on the roads looking for money to fund endless trips by those ‘above’ then they are polishing teargas canisters (smoke machines) ready to kick butts.

Artists whom we have criticized for turning a blind eye to the unravelling situation have this year made commendable efforts to say something with the limited freedom of expression. We are not sure how much this is affecting them but we applaud their attempts at speaking truth to power. So whilst Tambaoga and crew continue with their bootlicking, ‘serious’ artists are now talking serious issues. Here are some:

Winky D – 25

It’s a tale of broken dreams. At some point in our teenage lives, we envisaged a better future and had laid out plans depending on our understanding of success. In 25, Winky who says he’s well into his 30s believed that at 25 he would have it all (a mansion like Kasukuwere’s, yellowbone for a wife, Jaguars & Phantoms). To date the only youth who can boast of having achieved that (except a wife) is Wicknell. In today’s Zimbabwe, youths are going beyond 25 before they get a decent job or sustainable source of income.  Today’s young are having to work harder but earning less.

Hosiah Chipanga – Kana nyika yakanaka (In a normal economy)

He went from gospel singer to regime bootlicker then had his damascene moment. The Mutare-based veteran artist who has released several albums that are critical of the system released another government critique this year. A track known as Kana nyika yakanaka laments how ZRP have turned into Ben 10s as they concentrate on fundraising at the expense of crime solving. He goes points out that people are gainfully employed professionals in a normal economy but everyone has been turned into a vendor by abnormal situation. The message is directed at those ‘above’ who are still in denial. Our situation is dire and in immediate need of redress.

Alick Macheso – Tinorarama nenyasha (We live by grace)

After years of silence characterized by personal and family issues that threatened to leave the Sungura maestro down and out, Macheso rebounded with a new album. The standard and quality remains a topic for another day. There’s a track that highlights how Zimbabweans are surviving each day. In a cash-less society, Zimbos have been forced to adopt plastic money rapidly (EcoCash being the biggest gainer) amidst talk of the imminent bond note. In the song Kurarama inyasha Alick points out how our continued existence in Zimbabwe has to do with more than just our wit but some form of divine intervention. It’s the grace of God that’s seen us live thus far otherwise ZimASSET has totally failed.

Killer T – Takangodaro (We are who we are)

Although not as poignant, Takangodaro shifts the republic’s focus from the glitz of north Samora to the grim reality of ghetto life. The release talks of how in the life of lack and disappointment, ghetto youths manage to keep their heads high. In the message, the youth is proud of his situation and exclaims they will not let ‘the haves’ dictate to them.  The ghetto massive are finally realizing that there exists a class, clique or kleptocracy (Biti’s word) that enjoys using their privilidged position in our nation to judge, demean and control the masses…but hatiregere kuita hunhu hweghetto.

Jnr Brown – Tongogara

The rapper laments the problems of the youths. The song highlights the struggles of students to get standard education as parents fail to pay fees. With broken families & broken dreams, girls are left vulnerable to sexual exploitation by blessers (proverbial sugar daddies) leading to unwanted pregnancies. Jnr Brown points to growing gap between the rich & the poor as the poor stay poor even when they try. Drug abuse is brought into the spotlight as desperate youths turn to medication (bronco) as a cheap alternative for alcohol. In closing, he urges youths to unite ‘ngatibatanei tiite zibigger team’. At the end of the struggle, General Tongogara is heard pronouncing the goals of the liberation struggle which seemingly have been betrayed by those ‘above’.

On a punny note… Jah Prayzah – Mdhara Vachauya
We are not sure which mdhara he refers to but this could be the year when ‘Ngwena’ finally bites.
Could 2016 be the year when musicians finally wake up to compose the music for the people’s struggle? Will this be the moment when our arts sector will finally brave the scrutiny, persecution and censorship that comes with #FreedomOfExpression in Zimbabwe? Are these fluke releases or this will become the norm?

For the good of the Republic!

*Female voices in arts are seemingly silent on the developing situation and only they can speak on their behalf. There’s room for all.

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