Exiled Zimbabwean musician-turned-government critic, Thomas Mapfumo, has backed #ThisFlag campaign leader Evan Mawarire and called upon President Robert Mugabe to step down as he has failed the people.
In a video posted on social media, the vocal Chimurenga music icon said despite warning Zimbabweans of Mugabe’s misrule through his music long back, few took heed.
Draped in the Zimbabwean flag, like Mawarire always is, Mapfumo — popularly known as Mukanya — said Mugabe and his governing Zanu PF have “a wrong understanding of what freedom is”.
“Freedom is not about the skin colour, it doesn’t necessarily mean that since the country is being ruled by a black man then we are free. No,” said Mapfumo, adding that “freedom has so many inputs”.
He said freedom has many tenets such as free speech, religion and democracy and the right to demonstrate.
However, Mugabe seems to be uncomfortable with civil demonstrations as he told Mawarire on Monday to leave Zimbabwe.
During the burial of his former top aide Charles Utete, the 92-year-old strongman attacked Mawarire, who, through the #ThisFlag campaign, stirred Zimbabweans to peacefully protest against Mugabe’s continued misrule..
But Mapfumo argued that the people and not a few selected elite must be in charge.
“A country is not led by a few individuals but by the majority, those are the people in charge. The president and his Cabinet are mere workers. That is what is called power to the people,” he said.
A distinguished singer during Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle, Mapfumo said Zimbabweans yearn for liberties that their founding fathers died fighting for.
He commended Mawarire, a pastor, and urged him to gird his loins for the long haul and continue standing up for the rights of the people until Mugabe leaves office.
“People should not wait for political parties, they should take power and we do not want to see Zanu PF... did they fight (liberation war) to steal from the people,” he questioned.
The 71-year-old music producer blamed Mugabe and Zanu PF for failing to curb corruption — a subject he produced a hit song on decades ago — and other ills.
“Some are lying that they are revolutionaries when they are not, they do not have the people at heart, they are stealing from the people.
“People are not employed and are oppressed,” Mapfumo said.
“I have said it before that this man is a dictator and people did not believe me. Some were even threatening me but you can now all see that Mugabe is a dictator,” said Mapfumo.
“Tisatambe nevanhu. Vanhu vanotipandukira, (Let us not take people for granted. They can revolt) Let us not steal from the people.
“We went to war to liberate the people but that is no longer the case, you (Mugabe) are now worse than (Ian) Smith”.
“Aren’t you ashamed? Please have shame. Saka imi mukuru ndimi mapaza nyika (So you as the leader aren’t you ashamed),” Mapfumo said.
He also took a swipe at war veterans saying they must not cry foul now because they were instrumental in giving Mugabe unfettered powers. daily news