Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Nyatsoterera, Expression of Nationhood in Zimbabwe

Nyatsoterera, expression of nationhood

By Professor Jonathan Moyo
Courtesy of the Zimbabwe Herald

IS it true that the Cabinet of the Republic of Zimbabwe has abandoned its constitutional and legal obligations to all Zimbabweans?

And has allowed itself to be compromised by some specific political interests that are hostile to the history and revolutionary legacy of our country to the point of sinking to the trivial and unacceptable level of deciding which song or jingle ZBC will play or not play in the false and temporary name of inclusive politics whose intended essence is in fact dangerously exclusive?

The dynamics of these questions have come to the fore over the last three or so weeks which have seen the embattled MDC-T and its desperate media hacks trying but thankfully failing to brew a neo-colonial storm in a beer scud over what they have been alleging are Zanu-PF jingles, when in fact they are talking about revolutionary songs performed by the Mbare Chimurenga Choir, being aired on ZBC television and radio.

A critical examination of this episode readily reveals the following seven issues which explain not only why Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party and its media henchmen have been trying to cause a false storm, but also explain why their misplaced objective is doomed to end in grief.

The first issue is that MDC’s attack on the revolutionary songs by the Mbare Chimurenga Choir has mischievously sought to abuse and compromise the Cabinet, which the MDC by reducing it from a serious constitutional body to a political platform.

Hopefully the MDC is not, for whatever reason, now feeling it can move from using the Cabinet as a listening post for Western interests to abusing it as a platform for pushing its nefarious political agenda.

It is totally unacceptable and indeed unconstitutional for political parties whose members are in the highest echelon of the Government to abuse the Cabinet as a platform for deliberating on political issues.

Cabinet is there for public policies and not partisan politics.

Members of political parties that are in Cabinet have no business abusing their presence in that highest policy making body, whose purpose is defined in our Constitution, to make self-serving political decisions.

There is nothing in the GPA, which says that Cabinet should be transformed into a political platform as an expression of the so-called inclusive politics of the current government.

Cabinet is a constitutional body, which is there for everyone including some who may not belong to any of the parties that make up the current government.

In terms of the GPA political issues of the parties to the government are supposed to be handled by JOMIC or the Organ for National Healing and not by Cabinet.

It is laughable that reports of a Cabinet directive against the broadcasting of the revolutionary songs by the Mbare Chimurenga Choir have thus far been peddled in an underhanded manner as rumours.

Cabinet does not and should not function that way through leaked rumours. Interestingly, the rumours have been published by some cash-strapped newspapers that are distinguishing themselves by seeking to sell news that nobody can trust as a desperate strategy to secure funding from Western donors that founded and fund the MDC.

People can say whatever they want but the bottom line is that Cabinet should not dirty its hands in the music playlist of any broadcaster, whether public or private.

Only banana republics sink that low and Zimbabwe is far better than that.

The second issue is that, despite pretending to be standing on high moral ground with bombastic self-confidence, the MDC and its media hacks have shown nauseating ignorance about the difference between a song and a jingle.

Because this is dictionary stuff which high school students readily find in their student companion, there is no need to waste time pointing out that neither of ZBC’s television nor radio has played any jingle featuring the Mbare Chimurenga Choir.

ZBC has aired songs not jingles from the choir.

Ask any fool and they will tell you that, the difference between a song and a jingle is like that of night and day.

A song is a song and a jingle is an audio or audio-visual commercial or advertisement not longer than 90 seconds.

Therefore the fuss from the MDC and its media mouthpieces about jingles that are in fact not there boggles the mind.

If they don’t like the songs from the Mbare Chimurenga Choir they should simply say so and that is okay in a democracy but to seek to silence the songs under the false pretext that they are jingles or hateful is not on.

Third, and this is very important to understand, the MDC’s existence is based on a distorted and corrupt view of history whose defining claim is scandalously that the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe started in 2000 when the naked fact is that the year 2000 saw the first fully blown neo-colonial opposition to our independence as a reaction to the historic land reform program.

Besides, all this business about the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe starting with the formation of the MDC is utter nonsense not least because everyone knows that the liberation struggle started in 1890 with the colonisation of our country leading to the First, Second and Third Chimurengas none of which is part of the MDC’s milestones.

Whereas Zanu-PF represents the articulation of Zimbabwe’s history at least since 1890 against colonialism, the MDC represents the negation of that history since 2000 in support of neo-colonialism.

As such the MDC’s furore over the broadcasting of the revolutionary songs by the Mbare Chimurenga Choir, and the resistance to that furore by the nationalist movement, are entirely predictable because the songs fundamentally speak to Zimbabwe’s true history which the MDC was specifically formed to challenge as part of a neo-colonial regime-change bid to create a new false history in Zimbabwe to oppose, derail and replace the legacy of our liberation struggle and its achievements since 1890.

In the circumstances, Zimbabweans have a fundamental duty not to allow the temporary spirit of the inclusive government to destroy the permanent spirit of our history and nationhood. An example of the clear and present danger we face was shown two weeks ago when Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who is also the MDC-T’s secretary general, shamelessly asserted that his 2010 midterm fiscal policy review presented in Parliament on July 14 was based on "Jeffersonian Principles on agreed inalienable rights — a counter cyclical political vision that would remain intact irrespective of changes in the political landscape."

What kind of history is this?

That the inclusive government is about implementing and entrenching the principles of Thomas Jefferson in our political system so they remain intact, meaning they stay permanent, regardless of who is in power in our country?

And this is in reference to the same Thomas Jefferson who was a slave owner and who abused his female slaves for sexual gratification with the result of impregnating some of them who ended up with so called illegitimate children?

In any case, who needs Thomas Jefferson to know about inalienable rights since such rights are natural and thus flow from natural justice and not from fornicating imperialists and brutal slave owners?

The point is clear. While the MDC can claim a false history rooted in imperialists and slave owners like Thomas Jefferson, Zimbabwe’s history which the Mbare Chimurenga Choir sing about is anti-imperialists and is rooted in our liberation struggle which was against slavery, imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism.

Fourth, the revolutionary songs by the Mbare Chimurenga Choir are but just one example of the rich legacy of our liberation struggle which Zimbabweans will never ever give up come rain or shine.

It should go without saying that song and dance rank very high among the best media for celebrating and telling the story of our liberation struggle and the trials and tribulations of our independence.

Other relevant media in this regard include literature, film, theatre and educational textbooks.

Although the independence of the United States was declared centuries ago, to this day Hollywood produces movies, television dramas and pop songs about American Independence Day which is July 4.

No politician in the US, let alone the American Cabinet, can have the audacity to attack things or songs connected to July 4 and expect to be taken seriously.

In this vein, who do MDC and its media hacks think they are fooling when they attack ZBC’s broadcasting of revolutionary songs by the Mbare Chimurenga Choir?

Their masters in America and Europe are neither fooled nor impressed because they surely should know better based on what happens in their countries.

Fifth, it is telling that, despite claiming to be in favour of tolerance for diverse views in our country, the mindless attack on the broadcasting of the revolutionary songs by the Mbare Chimurenga Choir exposes the naked hypocrisy of the MDC and its media hacks on the issue of tolerance and demonstrates with ringing finality that they have a corrupt view of tolerance not least because they routinely label as "hateful" anything they either disagree with or that is based on Zimbabwe’s true revolutionary history.

The claim by the MDC and its media hacks that any of the songs by the Mbare Chimurenga Choir are "hateful" is preposterous to its core.

The preposterous claims have become so reckless that Andrew Moyse’s Western donor created and funded Media Monitoring Project (MMPZ), which ironically is supposed to defend free expression as part of its moto and mission, published an editorial comment last week against the songs by the Mbare Chimurenga Choir carried by all media sell-outs entitled "ZBC displays its slavish loyalty to Zanu-PF" whose total rubbish included the following patently false line: "It can be no coincidence that Nyatsoterera [the album by the Mbare Chimurenga Choir] was produced by the Mahendere Brothers, who participated in [Jonathan] Moyo’s notorious 2002 Pax Afro publicity campaign that did so much to damage Zimbabwean society by its promotion of political intolerance, division and hatred."

Well, if this is not sponsored idiocy then nothing is.

Consider the facts.

In the first place it is false that Nyatsoterera was produced by the Mahendere Brothers.

The truth is that it was produced by Amos Mahendere and he is not his brothers but an individual fully entitled to live his life and music profession as an individual.

Tolerance means acknowledging and respecting this fact but of course the MMPZ does not do that. In the second place, there is not a single hateful lyric in Nyatsoterera unless the point is that the truth hurts.

As for the claim that Pax Afro songs, which were released in July 2004 and not in 2002 as alleged by MMPZ, were full of political intolerance, division and hatred, only a racist or ignoramus who is not familiar with the project would say that.

Otherwise who does not know that Pax Afro’s project was a compendium of love songs, such as "Let it Play", "I Love You", "Sweet Love", "Uthanda Bani", "Luba Lami", "Happy Anniversary" and "Shine on African Sun"?

Anyone who thinks these and other songs in Pax Afro’s 2004 project "did so much to divide Zimbabwean society by [their] promotion of political intolerance, division and hatred" is a plain idiot who has no business telling us anything about Nyatsoterera by the Mbare Chimurenga Choir or anything else for that matter.

Sixth, and to the extent that the MDC and its media hacks are apparently offended by the respect given to President Mugabe in the rendition of the revolutionary songs by the Mbare Chimurenga Choir in their Nyatsoterera project, it’s about time that everyone understood and appreciated that, after everything has been said and done, nobody will ever take away the fact that President Mugabe is the founding leader of the Republic of Zimbabwe after having led the Zanla forces which liberated this country along with Zipra forces led by the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo.

All countries in the world treat their founding leaders with respect and that includes acknowledging their contributions through a variety of media including song and dance.

President Mugabe is to Zimbabwe what George Washington is to the United States.

This is a fact that cannot be wished away and there is nothing about the inclusive government which can take precedent over the fact.

Seventh, the way some media interests have joined the attack on the revolutionary songs by the Mbare Chimurenga Choir with unprecedented frenzy seals the conclusion that these media are either run by foolish charlatans or treacherous ignoramuses.

This is because of their silence over the partisan broadcasting content, which includes songs and jingles, aired by the American controlled pirate radio station, Studio 7, which illegally broadcasts in Zimbabwe on medium wave with the facilitation of Botswana.

The relevant and far reaching point that should be emphasised here is that under the auspices of the Voice of America, Studio 7 is illegally broadcasting on a medium wave frequency which the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has allocated to the sovereign Republic of Zimbabwe in accordance with the applicable international treaties and protocols. In other words, the Voice of America which broadcasts Studio 7 is squatting on a frequency that the ITU has set aside for Zimbabwe’s national use.

The fact that Studio 7 uses a medium wave frequency reserved for Zimbabwe via medium wave transmitters in Botswana means it has illegal national coverage within our territorial boundaries.

This is why it is a pirate station; it is broadcasting in blatant violation of both Zimbabwean law and international law as governed by the ITU.

Now, while the MDC and its media henchmen have been quick to attack ZBC’s broadcasting of the revolutionary songs by the Mbare Chimurenga Choir, they have said nothing about the illegal use of the medium wave frequency allocated to Zimbabwe by ITU by Studio 7 on behalf of the MDC.

They have also been silent about the partisan songs and jingles that are aired by that pirate station on a daily basis exclusively for the MDC.

Pirate radio stations remain an unresolved GPA issue along with the evil and illegal economic sanctions.

Given the foregoing, the MDC and its media mouthpieces should forget about ZBC content unless and until there are no pirate radio stations, such as Studio 7, violating our statutes and international law by illegally squatting on our national broadcasting frequencies to churn out hostile propaganda.

For the same reasons Cabinet has a constitutional obligation to uphold Zimbabwean laws.

It would be a gross violation of those laws for the Cabinet to stoop low and ban our revolutionary songs through a misplaced political directive at the behest of the MDC while doing nothing about the MDC’s Studio 7.

What is good for the goose should be good for the gander.

In any case, apart from being political nonsense, any Cabinet directive banning our revolutionary songs from ZBC would be unlawful and challengeable in the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, let the permanent spirit of Nyatso-terera rhythms ring loud and true on our national airwaves and well done to ZBC.

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