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The case and curse of two musician-ministers

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s “new dispensation” saw the elevation of two musicians to the post of deputy minister.

Soundtrack Jairos Saunyama

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s “new dispensation” saw the elevation of two musicians to the post of deputy minister.

Fortune Chasi was appointed Transport and Infrastructure Development deputy minister and later Energy minister, while Energy Mutodi (pictured) became Information deputy minister.

The two politicians, who are also legislators, hit the ground running by updating the nation on government programmes through their Twitter accounts.

Chasi was quick to be received by social media users before he went popular and earned the moniker “Chibabest” (Big Daddy).

A Zimdancehall musician who has done collaborations with some of the country’s top chanters including Guspy Warrior, Soul Jah Love and Killer T, the Mazowe South legislator is, however, yet to make a break on the music scene with most of his Twitter followers not even aware of what he can do in the studio or on stage.

The former Justice deputy minister is also known as Mudhara Chasi in dancehall music circles.

In the run-up to the 2018 harmonised elections, Mudhara Chasi dropped a 12-track album, No to Violence, in which he preached peace. He collaborated with Soul Jah Love on the song, Zuva Ranhasi, before releasing Child Marriages and Raramo Kubatana, a duet with Dr Tawanda. He also worked with Killer T on the track, Zimbabwe Ino, and with Guspy Warrior on Life Haisi Easy.

Sometime last year, Chasi revealed that he owned a recording studio called Mudhara Chasi Studios.

Touted as a hard worker during his tenure at the Transport ministry, Chasi was moved to the problematic Energy and Power Development ministry. Filled with confidence, he promised to turn around the fortunes of the troubled sector, as well as to alleviate fuel shortages. He promised to “skin the live snake”.

The current economic meltdown, however, appears to have skinned the Chibabest, with fuel prices going up almost every week, while loadshedding has worsened amid reports that Zesa is facing collapse.

On Twitter, Chasi has resorted to urging citizens to pay their Zesa debts despite a majority of them using pre-paid meters. True to his lyrics with Guspy Warrior on Life Haisi Easy, ordinary Zimbabweans are struggling to make ends meet.

His colleague, Mutodi, is a rhumba musician who, despite his financial muscle, has dismally failed to make a mark in the industry. Mutodi used money to lure the best instrumentalists, producers and even made great videos. Tatu Maluba or Musoro Wembada, as he is known on stage, announced his presence on the music scene around 2011 as a rhumba musician before venturing into sungura music.

He courted some members of the Utakataka Express — a band that was under Peter Moyo — soon after Dewa’s death.

On his debut rhumba album, the Goromonzi West lawmaker courted a local seasoned rhumba outfit.

His discography includes Sekawo Mbichana (2012), Magetsi Ngaabake (2013), Chimvuramabwe (2013) and Kuita Kuri Kwenyu (2014).

After taking the reins as deputy Information minister, Mutodi has often clashed with lots of people on Twitter, brewing anger online and being unapologetic about some of his posts.

Following the alleged abduction of MDC Midlands official Sekai Marashe, Mutodi labelled her a “prostitute and drunkard”. Not long before, on August 22, Mutodi had defended the alleged abduction and torture of comedian-cum-journalist Samantha “Gonyeti” Kureya claiming the abduction was a stage-managed act.

The musician-cum-politician has been the most vocal at the Information ministry under the new dispensation. In January this year, he pulled a shocker when he said the internet shutdown was a result of massive use by the population. More recently, he invited social media attacks when he claimed that over three million Zimbabwean Ndebeles with South African origin were “running away from Tshaka”.

However, before being appointed as a deputy minister, the flamboyant musician posted on his Facebook account that human rights activist-cum-journalist Itai Dzamara had faked abduction. Dzamara is yet to be found.

As Zimbabwe grapples with an ailing economy that has seen its citizens enduring austerity measures, the two musician-ministers have a daunting task to correct the country’s ills and come up with measures that will benefit the suffering masses. For now, social media users will have to be either entertained or angered by the ministers’ Twitter posts.

After being sworn in, Mutodi said he had put his music career on hold because his new role was “challenging and demanding”. Judging by their performance in the music industry, it is, therefore, a task for Zimbabweans to expect the best from the two “twitsters”. Perhaps more time is needed before results can be expected.

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