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Tuku sets the record straight
Oliver Mtukudzi,
March 25, 2005

Following recent press reports, I wish to place on record and make absolutely clear that I am not a ZANU (PF) supporter. I am a loyal Zimbabwean who believes in a true and tolerant democracy. As a musician, I have been appalled that the Government has used its monopoly of the airwaves to restrict airplay of artists who they see as unsupportive of its policies. People who do not promote government's image are often seen as being enemies of the government and attempts are made to silence them or undermine their careers. This is a gross abuse of human rights, so many of which have been violated in order to secure government's grasp on power. Most distressing is that the government has denied numerous Zimbabweans in the Diaspora their democratic right to vote.

Zimbabwe is a deeply divided society. The political divide often cuts across family loyalties and ties, placing individuals in an impossibly difficult position. Family and political loyalties may conflict and create underlying personal tension, which in my case, has been exploited to try to portray my political morality as being other than it is. Various subterfuges have been used. A request to sing a few solo songs at what I understood would be a private gathering of relatives was turned into a ZANU (PF) event, and, without warning or permission, filmed and broadcast. It is like an American Democratic Party supporter being asked to sing happy birthday to his Republican brother and suddenly finding the event being used in a Republican Party campaign ad.

Furthermore, I understand that one of my songs ‘Totutuma' has just been used, again without my permission, to promote a ZANU (PF) event in a manner that suggested I would be performing at the event or that the event had my support. Nothing could be further from the truth. I believe that this is a deliberate strategy to undermine my popularity as a singer, and to prevent my songs from being used as a rallying point for those who believe in a true and tolerant democracy. However, I hope that my fans are, by now, wise to such cynical manipulation, which so seriously undermines our collective belief in a better Zimbabwe. In return for my fans' loyalty, the band and I hope to put on unforgettable shows in our impending UK tour.

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