Register to vote, Mapfumo tells youths
CHIMURENGA music maestro — Thomas Mapfumo — has urged Zimbabwean youths to register to vote ahead of this year’s general election scheduled for August while also calling for a free environment ahead of polls.
The 78-year-old outspoken music icon said youths should take an active role in determining their future, by voting for a candidate of their choice.
“The youth should speak through their vote and choose the best candidate. There is no way they can change their future if they do not exercise their right to vote,” Mapfumo told The NewsHawks.
He also called for free and fair election slamming the divide and rule tactics.
“I believe that candidates should be able to campaign freely and also have equal access to national television. You know here in America both candidates appear on television.
“There is nothing as divisive as the party cards, why should people to asked to buy party cards. That is what is dividing our people it should not be about membership but best policies that should advise on who to vote for.
“We also want to see Zimbabwean presidential candidates engaging in debates on television so that whoever has the best policies or strategy wins,” Mapfumo said.
There have been fears of voter exclusion ahead of the general election with critics saying the blitz carried out last year left out several eligible voters who had no identity documents.
There were widespread reports of youths failing to access national identity cards for registration a prerequisite for would be voters.
In 2021, elections in Zambia were largely influenced by young people including first time voters.
In the lead up to the elections, there was a heightened interest from young people showed interest on how they could meaningfully participate in the election and other democratic processes.
As a result, a large turnout on the polling day contributed to President Hakainde Hichilema’s win as the youth vote constituted more than half of the electorate.
When asked if he would maintain his stance against corruption and oppression when he settles home, the Vanhu Vatema singer, who is planning on retiring and settling in Zimbabwe, said he would never sell out.
“Mwana wamai (my brother) I will never be bought or change what I believe in. Money is not everything I have always spent it with my family and relatives it is never about me.
“Till today I send money back home because I’m not greedy or corruptible,” said Mapfumo, who has previously been offered a farm and cash by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration.
Mapfumo is famous for his protest music the white minority rule in Rhodesia and then in post-Independent Zimbabwe when the black rulers turned on their own with iron-first governance.
He went into self-exile in 2003, fearing for his security under former President Robert Mugabe’s authoritarian government known for its intolerance towards prominent critics.
But Mapfumo has remained consistent against corruption and as the voice for the poor and oppressed.
He said after his retirement he would be working in studio with young artists.
“I have lot songs some unrecorded and some of them suit female voices so I will be spending more time working in studio,” he said.