Artists have defended their involvement in civic education saying it is their constitutional right and should not be victimised for participating in democratic processes.
Contributing to a discussion on arts and civic education in Zimbabwe on CITE’s daily Twitter current affairs show, This Morning on Asakhe, artists said they should be allowed to freely express themselves.
“When I write on Twitter to say register to vote, I am not saying vote for X, Y, or Z. I am encouraging people to register to vote but people assume that you belong to party X therefore they should cancel you,” said Austrian based musician, Vusa Mkhaya.
“It is being unfair to artists, why should they be the ones not allowed to speak or to go and work where there is a gig. When one is sick do they ask the doctor which party they belong to before seeking medical attention, people just go there and get help.”
He said there is nothing wrong with artists performing at political rallies when they are paid, “even if they support the party, it’s their right to support that particular party because they are also citizens”.
Media personality Patience Phiri said the challenge with Zimbabweans is that they have a sense of entitlement while they do not support the work of different artists.
“We have a sense of entitlement to people’s lives and decisions, we want to govern who they vote for but would not support them with jobs, buy their CDs, we will not support them and attend their shows or do anything that makes them better and then we want to have a say when they make decisions,” said Phiri.
She said democracy is a choice and artists should be allowed to support the political parties of their choice.
“Democracy is a choice, a choice to choose a party that you want, a choice to do whatever you want to do with your life, and it also abides with politics, as an artist or celebrated person if you are hired and the money is good, it should be your decision and we should have artists that support parties because people see the party that appeals to them, that works for them,” said Phiri.
“Then in their personal capacity, they should be allowed if they want to publicly support their party”.
In addition, poet Desire Moyo said it is difficult for artists to speak freely
“I think it is all about the history of our Country, we have so many artists that have made it from the liberation struggle, who after independence did not diffuse their mentality of the struggle, it is now difficult for someone to speak out freely,” said Moyo.
He said when artists speak out about corruption, they get persecuted.
“Corruption in Zimbabwe is so deep-rooted and it reins from the heart of the big political elites, the real people who run our lives, so when you speak out about corruption, you are labeled an imperialist, mouthpiece of the West, yet you are talking about the evil corruption of our time, so what makes it like that is that people want to own artists, so when you talk about corruption whichever end you are persecuted,” said Moyo.
“We have seen many people getting persecuted due to speaking out, we have seen by the song ‘Dem Loot’ so when you shout corruption even in opposition parties, I have been in some opposition spaces and the word corruption sends many of the opposition guys into a convict type of environment.”