Op-Ed written by Nigel Pfunde
In 2018 when musician, businessman, academic and politician affectionally known as Tatu Muluba (during his music days) was appointed deputy information minister, many were not shocked because his allegiance, which bordered on sycophancy deserved recognition of some sort by the new dispensation.
After former Vice President Joice Mujuru was expelled from Zanu-PF, Tatu Muluba emerged as a supporter of the new faction led by the current President Emmerson Mnangagwa called Lacoste.
His support was not a secret and then he used mainly Facebook to come up with theories (some of them bizarre) lambasting G40.
He put the icing on the cake when he had a Kodak Moment with Mnangagwa holding the famous ‘I’m the Boss mug’, where the gentlemen were enjoying a ‘glass’ (pun intended) of whiskey.
This image was presumably captured two months before the military intervention which saw the rise of Mnangagwa to the levers of power, as he had rightfully promised two weeks before he became Justice Maphosa’s guest in South Africa.
Mutodi got the name Tatu Muluba during his rhumba days where he was a lyricist of repute, to that I can attest!
In 2011, he released an album called Kumasese which was full of nuggets of advice drawing wisdom and inspiration from the Zimbabwean culture.
Then, one music critic compared the album to the old adage that says “a fly, which has no advisor, will follow the corpse into the grave”
“Kumasese” is where it begins and ends for a man who does not listen to sound advice,” further explained the critic.
On Wednesday, President Mnangagwa fired him in terms of the Constitution and no official reasons or the charge sheet for his dismissal were proffered.
However it does need a rocket scientis to tell why- the writings were on the wall!
His dismissal mirrors the interpretation of his album Kumasese where he inferred that a man who does not listen to advice will author his own calamity.
It becomes a case where art should not be a mirror of reality , but rather a hammer to shape it, as some scholar once submitted.
Some of us who have a background in writing arts were elated by one of our own’s ascension to power, but he failed to listen to the advice from several circles, to ‘lower down the volume’ of his social media rants.
The decibels were becoming too high and damaging.
Sometime in 2019, I wrote an op-ed focusing on the discord in the Information ministry.
I am alive to the fact that the Ministry of Information is the Government of Zimbabwe’s engine for transition into a more connected and empowered society between its citizens and government, thus promoting a more accountable and transparent Government as outlined by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
However, I noted in that piece that events in the communications department was slowly exposing the appointing authority who is the president
The communications department is comprised of the minister Monica Mutsvangwa, her fired deputy Energy Mutodi, permanent secretary Nick Mangwana and Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and cabinet George Charamba.
These individuals are supposed to be the engine to give citizens the direction of government and Mnangagwa’s policies.
I noted that the cockpit was shaking as some members seem to be eyeing to be the sole pilots and they have divergent approaches to policy issues and how information is disseminated to citizens.
Tatu Muluba was part of this cockpit.
It appeared the department has some hardliners who were previously aligned to the old guard and are against Mnangagwa’s reformist policies where he is trying to open up democratic space, re-engagement and being ‘soft as wool’ as he said in his own words.
Such behavioral traits are exhibited by the spokesperson who seems to opt for a ‘tough’ stance.
This can be evidenced by the inconsistencies in statements made by Mnangagwa and his spokesperson on same issues.
When Mnangagwa travels on his re-engagement missions, he attracts a lot of international media and what he portrays himself as a person who has reformed and adopted a soft stance.
However, his spokesperson’s statements back home are a complete negation of his principal’s sentiments.
I publish hereunder four italicized extraction notes of some of the events I highlighted in that op-ed to buttress to my submissions.
1 In January 2019, Mnangagwa posted a video drop in which he declared that he was solely responsible for all the information posted on his official Twitter handle and it was his opinion.
2 Charamba (George) then came out guns blazing saying citizens must not listen to or take the Tweets on Mnangagwa’s handle seriously as the messages portrayed there was not genuine or a reflection of the president’s opinions.
3 The Ministry of Information then publicly declared that the messages on Mnangagwa’s Twitter handle were genuine and citizens must treat them as such.
4 On Monday (2019), Mutodi then pulled a shocker on Star FM wherein he dismissed the authenticity of messages and information disseminated on the Twitter handle.He said the communication on that handle was not a true reflection of Mnangagwa’s opinions.
On May 20 2020, Mutodi became a casualty of the discord within the communications department.
It was barely two days after he had made yet another characteristic gaff, taking to his microblogging Twitter handle tongue-in-cheek lambasting what he thought was an unholy alliance between the ministers of Foreign Affairs and Information Sibusiso Moyo and Monica Mutsvangwa, respectively.
This forced Mnangagwa to act since the two ministers professionally played mute to Mutodi’s rants and preferred not to publicly argue with a ‘fool’ as citizens would not notice the difference.
Mutodi took to his Twitter handle saying: “Living in fear of the Chris Mutsvangwa – SB Moyo coalition; I hope it won’t resort to wartime tactics. Appealing for prayers.”
The misunderstanding among the trio appears to have emanated from a reprimand after government, through Moyo, distanced itself from statements by Mutodi on measures taken by the Government of Tanzania to contain COVID-19.
The Government of Tanzania did not implement a full COVID-19 lockdown contrary to the World Health Organisation’s recommendation.
He also teared into the three MDC activists Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova who were allegedly abducted and dumped somewhere in Muchapondwa, Bindura.
He poured scorn on them demeaning them, in a matter that is under police investigations wherein Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga vowed to make the outcome public.
As an artiste (in his other life), it appears Mutodi might have been given a ‘poetic license’ to post comic material on social media, but an attack on the country’s public relations manager might have resulted in a diplomatic row between Harare and Dar-es-Salaam.
SB Moyo is not only the country’s chief PR manager, but the co-announcer of the military intervention that saw the late former president Robert Mugabe’s ouster.
Touch not the anointed!