By Sheryleen Masuku
Zimbabwean legendary musician Thomas Mapfumo said Zimbabweans living in the diaspora are now ashamed of being associated with the country.
He was speaking at a virtual Constitution Rally hosted by prominent Zimbabwe human rights activists Jestina Mukoko and #ThisFlag Movement Pastor Evan Mawarire on Thursday in protest against constitutional amendments that were gazetted by President Emmerson Mnangagwa Friday.
“There are an estimated 7 million Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora and that has never happened in any other country that people will leave their country in such large numbers,” Mapfumo told online followers.
“The country is in tatters now. It’s now even embarrassing for some people in the diaspora to say that they are from Zimbabwe. Most people are now ashamed to say they are from Zimbabwe except those who are brave people like me”.
Mapfumo who rose to fame as a liberation struggle activist who sang liberation songs in the 80’s, said despite having a long history of supporting Zanu PF during the liberation struggle he fled the country when the same liberators had turned into oppressors looting the nation’s wealth for personal gain.
“I supported these leaders. I used to sing for them during the liberation struggle when there were in camps in Mozambique”.
“But right now, I am in exile. I fled from these same people that I used to support”.
Mapfumo said he refused to join Zanu PF leaders in looting the country’s resources.
“If I had continued to support these leaders, I would be rich with a fleet of big cars and farms. Farms taken from other people,” he said.
“But I am not that kind of a person who steals from others. I came into this world naked and naked I shall return”.
Mapfumo has called on the Zimbabweans youth to resist oppression from their leaders calling the ZANU PF led government an ‘illegitimate government that is ruling the people by force’.
“We have been with these oppressors for 41 years. We have been fighting this oppression for 41 years. Our struggle is not getting better. Nothing will ever change. It’s the same old ZANUPF a very bad political party,” Mapfumo said.
The Chimurenga music guru went on to say that the constitution in Zimbabwe was not that effective as long as the same government was still in power.
“This constitution doesn’t work. People should get out of their houses and remove these leaders,” he said.
“You will never move forward with these leaders”.
He lambasted Zanu PF saying the party was turning a deaf ear to the suffering of the masses.
“These leaders don’t love people and they are not concerned about people.”
“There are only concerned about filling their pockets by looting”.
“The youth are suffering in Zimbabwe. It is heart-breaking to see so many youths unable to get a decent education. Surviving by selling in the streets”.
President Mnangagwa Friday gazetted the new constitutional changes into law despite a public outcry from Zimbabwe human rights activists and the opposition MDC- Alliance.
Human rights activists and opposition leaders from the MDC Alliance accuse President Mnangagwa of making unlawful changes to the constitution in an effort to consolidate his power ahead of the 2023 election.
The new changes to the constitution will allow the President to appoint a sitting judge to a higher court without the judge being subjected to a public interview.
The new changes also permit judges to remain in office beyond retirement age of 70 years; a move which critics say is an effort by President Mnangagwa to reward Zanu PF loyalists in the judiciary to remain in office.
Mnagwagwa’s critics responded with anger on social media yesterday when the new changes were gazetted into law.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Prof Arthur Mutambara said the people must resist further changes to the constitution and take legal action against constitutional amendments 1 and 2.
“Let Us Stay the Course. Yes, it is now gazetted, as expected. No news there. Fightback we have discussed continues. People must know why this Amend Act is illegal and unconstitutional,” he said.
“Fightback (Don’t Let Up) Legal action against Amends. 1 & 2 Stop further constitutional changes & Patriotic Bill Political mobilisation, fight! Make amends an election issue for 2023.”
There were mixed reactions on Twitter with most users saying it is futile to fight the new constitutional amendments.
“Prof approaching the courts in my opinion is a futile exercise, because the same judges at constitutional court are the ones who will benefit, it is a clear conflict of interest.” said one Twitter user