INDEPTH: Late musician Andy Brown’s 20-year-old message against politically motivated violence ahead of general elections; Munogwireyiko? Munopondaniraneyiko?

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By Leopold Munhende

TWO of late musician Andy Brown’s lines in 2003 production Tongogara, hit harder than American boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather in his better days.

Andy Brown’s adopted Karanga dialect further emphasises questions he asked at the height of violent farm invasions and formation of then main opposition MDC which still apply as Zimbabwe gears for general elections analysts have argued might turn ‘nasty.’

Farm invasions and targeted attacks on opposition players characterised Zimbabwe’s political landscape in the early 2000s.

Disgruntled war veterans and late President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF government combined to seize white-owned land, albeit with little accountability, disregard for basic rights (in treatment of blacks and whites); and destructive, physical force.

Attacks on opposition supporters and members laid groundwork for current fears.

In Tongogara, Andy Brown amazes at the massive black on black, Zimbabwean on Zimbabwean violence, questioning why anyone would do such a thing for just a seat.

“Munogwireiko, munopondaniraneiko, munopesana seiko vana veZimbabwe?” sings Andy Brown.

(Why do you fight, why do you kill each other, why are you not seeing eye to eye as Zimbabweans?)

The fight for control has always been existent in independent Zimbabwe, violent scenes have been recorded despite some perpertrators forming part of an elite group that frowned upon the act. In fact, some took arms to successfully fight against it in a protracted war of liberation.

It is no surprise Andy Brown also frowns on the act. His is not a racial stance in defence of white people politicians might argue he represents.

Born Godfrey Cadia Shoko, later Maunganidze, to Zvondiwe Ncube of Mberengwa; Andy Brown’s life was as black as the typical Tapiwa. He was Zimbabwe’s Muzukuru, tasked with saying things as he saw it up till his passing in 2012 at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals.

Then Godfrey or Cadia, he grew up in Mberengwa, kwaChavengwa under headman Mudavanhu and experienced all the suffering that comes with being in a rural setting with no urban dwellers to chip in.

Having been born in 1959, Andy Brown could even have witnessed white on black racial discrimination, been a victim himself and even experienced the war.

Andy Brown’s cries are for the already suffering Zimbabwean black man who is forced to endure violence because of a choice that does not please whoever has to be pleased.

They force reflections of the youths who demanded answers in a “short sleeve or long sleeve” while brandishing rusted machetes high up in the air over crouching people whose fear shone clearly in their eyes during violent scenes before a 2008 election runoff between Mugabe and late opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

“Ingawani ropa revana veZimbabwe rakadeuka richiyerera kunge rwizi? Nhasi mavakupondana pachigaro chaMambo mapindwa neyiko vana Baba? adds Tongogara.

(Is it not true that the blood of Zimbabwean’s children was spilt and flowed like a river? Today you kill each other over the country’s leadership, what has gotten into you our fathers?)

Politically motivated violence accounted for over 20,000 people in the Matabeleland regions as per Catholic Commission on Justice and Peace (CCJP) research and over 500 more in 2008 according to opposition MDC.

Two have died so far, Moreblessing Ali who is slowly being forgotten and Mboneni Ncube, fatally stabbed by confirmed Zanu PF youths that attacked a Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) rally in Kwekwe ahead of March 2022 by-elections.

With Zimbabweans having shown over the years that they just cannot help it but turn violent or be used for violence by politicians during such tense periods, Andy Brown’s song serves as a humane reminder to value life and the blood of martyrs who were killed for freedoms we now use to abuse others.

Adds Andy Brown: “Tongogara uripiko, Tongogara wakaendepiko, Tongogara takusuwa pachigaro chaMambo,” while the chorus goes; “Tochigara seiko, Tochigara seiko, Tochigara seiko chigaro chaMambo. Pachigaro chaMambo chinoyera.”