Forget about elections, says Mukanya

Exiled musician Thomas Mapfumo has said Zimbabweans must forget about changing the current political status quo through the ballot box.

EXILED musician Thomas Mapfumo has said Zimbabweans must forget about changing the current political status quo through the ballot box.

Zimbabwe is set to hold general elections in July or August this year.

Mapfumo, a critic of the government, said only through peaceful protests can Zanu PF be removed from power.

“Zimbabweans must understand who they are really dealing with, [President Emmerson] Mnangagwa took over power from (Robert) Mugabe in an unconstitutional manner and he will never let go of that power simply through a ballot box,” said Mukanya.

“People in Zimbabwe must wake up and smell the coffee, forget about elections, go out in the streets.

“We have seen this happen in other countries such as Egypt and that’s the only way you can remove this leadership, which has dragged the country into poverty.”

Mapfumo said the government has to account for all the money from the vast mining resources in the country.

“US$15 billion just disappeared during the Mugabe era, no one was held accountable for that money,” he said.

“Imagine what that money was going to do to the health care, education, food security and jobs in the country but we have a few people enjoying such a big loot with their families.

“Mnangagwa is doing the same, he is looting the country with his family and few friends whilst Zimbabweans are dying because there is no health care and no food on the table.

“Something must be done to remove this oppressive government and that can only be through going out into the streets and defending your right.”

Pre-independence, Mapfumo was imprisoned without charges under the Ian Smith regime.

He later went on to be a fierce opponent and critic of the Mugabe regime before being forced into exile in the United States.

Mapfumo's song Hokoyo caught the attention of the then Rhodesian government; aptly meaning “watch out”. The song was banned on state-controlled radio stations and the Smith regime eventually threw him into prison without charges in 1979.

The imprisonment led to demonstrations in protest against his arrest and the government was pressured to release him after three months.

After independence, Mapfumo would again criticise the government led by Mugabe that he helped bring to power.

In 1989, Mapfumo released a politically charged album Corruption, which criticised Mugabe and his government.

The musician became a target of the state and a regular receiver of harassment in the hands of the state.

He was at one time accused of theft of a motor vehicle. The musician later moved to the United States in the late 1990s.

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