(Written by Harriet Chigege: Viomak’s publicity )
Last year I wrote some articles concerning Voices of the Oppressed (VOTO)’s campaign to have MDC leaders declare their personal assets in which I stated that on 12 February 2009 (VOTO), an organization run by protest singer cum political activist Viomak, spearheaded a campaign that was seeking to have all MDC GNU leaders declare their personal assets in a bid to hold Zimbabwe leaders accountable as a way of monitoring corruption and achieving democracy. Since February 2009 the articles have been doing rounds on the internet. In support of the campaign Viomak drafted a petition explaining the proposal and made various efforts to make it happen including communicating with PM Morgan Tsvangirai’s spokesman James Maridadi and composing a song.
Media reports on 28 February 2010 and today 02 March 2010, confirm that MDC –T leaders will declare their assets. According to the reports the officials will be required to declare their assets before taking office in new regulations contained in a document named the ‘Real Change Code of Ethics and Values’. The party will continue assessing how the leaders accumulate their assets on a yearly basis as a way to fight and eradicate corruption amongst their leaders in line with their mandate for transparency and accountability in government.
Only two weeks ago protest singer Viomak released her usual 8 track Mugabe Happy birthday album (Supreme Leader) to protest against Mugabe’s bad governance. This time for the first time the activist cum protest singer has released a hot single ‘Chinja Maitiro’ (Change your way) to cement the campaign for MDC and Zimbabwe leaders to declare their personal assets to combat corruption. The song was inspired by MDC’s popular slogan ‘Chinja Maitiro’ which asks Zimbabweans to change their way of doing things and vote for MDC .Viomak is using the same slogan to have MDC leaders lead by example and declare their personal assets in order to create a government of transparency and accountability something which ZANUPF failed to do.
‘Chinja maitiro’ is Viomak’s first single ever since she started releasing protest music. The activist with 6 protest albums to date and is well known for releasing anti Mugabe and freedom songs confirmed that she is not bothered that she is banned because the internet is doing wonders for her .
The freedom of expression campaigner who has been at the fore front of running the campaign to curb Zimbabwe government corruption since 12 February 2009 will use the song to motivate and inspire Zimbabweans to be responsible citizens by asking for transparency and accountability from their leaders.
“Zimbabwe is on the top list for being a corrupt government and activism will help to eradicate this problem.”She said.
Those who have listened to Viomak’s other protest songs will definitely feel the difference in this song. The song is a lively inspirational one that calls for social and political justice in an innovative way. Her sense of the issues surrounding Zimbabwe’s troubles has made her grow into a major figure in the modern journey of Zimbabwean music. She has manufactured an outstanding sound by doing the obvious, developing protest music for change in a country that desperately needs it. It is obvious that Viomak is headed towards the right direction as she possesses one of the most exquisite modern protest music genres to ever come out of Zimbabwe .Her music is an instrument for social change and her prowess is more remarkable in that she doesn’t sing for any political party. Some musicians who were singing for political parties have since assumed low profiles after the formation of the Government of National Unity (GNU) between ZANUPF and MDC.
“I am hoping that my music will eventually develop into a protest movement platform that will see Zimbabweans embrace protest music as a great vehicle for social and political change.” She said.
The banned singer who confirmed once more that her music and work is still blacked out by Zimbabwe media has amassed a lot of enemies along the way for her truthful lyrics and outspokenness against bad governance and corruption in ZANU PF and MDC, but said she will not be intimidated and is determined to carry the protest art movement until good governance and democracy is restored in Zimbabwe. In respect to her words the singer is in the middle of designing a protest movement website to promote the work of Zimbabwe protest artists.
“There are no scared cows in my kraal. I am not taking the news that MDC is also breeding corruption lightly. Very soon music to that effect will be released and I will wait to see if MDC will ban my music too. A similar type of music that some MDC singers recorded for Mugabe.” She said.
The release of the hot sungura beat ‘Chinja Maitiro‘shakes off any misconceptions and doubts that protest music is a thing of the past. Not in countries where freedom of expression is not a human right. Not in countries that are suffering from social and political injustice. Not in countries where democracy and good governance is yet to be realised.
Some lyrics of the song below directly ask the leaders to declare their personal assets whilst denouncing corruption.
"Corruption no no Corruption no no Corruption no no Nadha No taramba
Corruption no no Corruption no no Corruption no no Bodo No taramba
Corruption aiwa Corruption aiwa Corruption aiwa Kwete No taramba
Corruption kwete Corruption kwete Corruption kwete Niks No taramba
Isu Taramba uori Isu Taramba kubirwa Isu Taramba uori declare your personal assets
Isu Taramba uori Isu Taramba kubirwa Isu Taramba uori declare your personal assets
Isu Taneta kubirwa Ndati Taneta kubirwa Isu Taneta kubirwa Now declare your assets
Isu Taneta kubirwa Ndati Taneta kubirwa Isu Taneta kubirwa Now declare your assets."
This time it is not about her music protesting only but it is about producing music to target a specific cause. In the song, her Zimbabwean producer’s musical vision is excellent with a variety of instruments launched from various ranges. The instruments are able to cohabit with her vocals in an amazing way, as she handles her vocals with equal doses of liveliness and style, allowing her activism and determination to show through her voice and lyrics. Through out the song, the blending style between all instruments and voices shines and the song like most her songs is lyrically rich and interesting showing her expertise as a great song writer. Her voice floats well over an equilibrium of instruments and of course male voices would have been a valuable addition to the sound.
With this song Viomak is going back into the limelight with a different dimension. Her unmistakable voice is again felt in the harmonies as she introduces a new breed of musical competence that has become unique to her productions .The vocal tracks add surprising harmonic sophistication and it is hard to believe that she sang the song alone. She graced the song with five different vocal tracks which is very unique and inspiring. It looks like some critics will spend a lot of time analyzing the song instead of concentrating on the cause because the intensity of the instruments and the vocals is so energizing that one can easily lose focus.
Before she asks MDC leaders to change their way and declare assets, the song starts with a distinctive sound powered by a unique punch that temporarily holds your breath before it abruptly gets you into a free style dancing mood. The word courageous always comes to mind when I listen to Viomak’s music. Her music covers a large space like a pancake and satisfies a diverse range of tastes. This is music that many of us can listen to and scoop something personal away from it. Like a good book, this is a song to come back to over and over again. A song to treasure as long as history lives.
In a country ravaged by corruption, Viomak and VOTO (Voices Of The Oppressed), concluded that enough is enough so it was time to seek “citizen justice” and ask leaders to declare their assets something that is completely new in Zimbabwe.
Ever since Viomak spearheaded the campaign some MDC leaders have shared their views on the issue with media reports saying the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Lovemore Moyo shared similar sentiments when he said,
“Parliament is to draw up plans to force MPs, Ministers and Senators to declare their assets in a drive to tackle corruption by public officials.”
In August 2009 MDC Senator Gutu also shared similar sentiments when he said,
”Our corruption-fighting tools should now be sharpened and made more lethal. Whether you are MDC or ZANU (PF), if you are found to be corrupt, you should be sent to jail and all the ill-gotten wealth should be confiscated by the State. The inclusive government has to come out very clearly against corruption. It should make it abundantly clear that corruption will not be tolerated in the new political dispensation in Zimbabwe. The time to eradicate corruption and all the evils associated with it is nigh.”
In an interview with Kubatana Trust in September 2009 MDC Deputy Minister of Media, Information and Publicity Jameson Timba shared his sentiments when Upenyu Makoni –Muchemwa asked him about Viomak’s VOTO campaign to declare personal assets.
“Musician and artist Viomak has started a campaign to have all MDC GNU politicians disclose their personal assets to try and get them to be accountable to the people. Have you heard of this campaign? What is your opinion of it?”
The minister said he had not heard of the campaign but supported the idea when he said,
“I’ve not heard of the campaign, but I’m not averse to it. I think it’s an excellent idea. Currently now there is a provision, within parliament, that parliament can actually ask members to disclose their personal assets and I think it is a good idea.”
Zimbabwe Kubatana Trust went on to support the VOTO cause by featuring the campaign in their edition of “60 Seconds Fresh” for the Inzwa (Listen) Audio Magazine .If you would like to listen to “60 Seconds Fresh” call 0913 444 321-8 0913 444 321-8 and press 1 for “60 Seconds Fresh”.
Viomak confirmed that she spoke to Deputy Prime minister Arthur Mutambara on facebook about the campaign to declare personal assets after which she said she would come back to the Deputy Prime minister as soon as she was ready with the information she is compiling to use in the campaign. Viomak also confirmed that she will pursue the issue after releasing this song which is going to be the foundation of this campaign.
The protest singer who has been using the internet since 2005 to inspire and initiate change is well known for coining hard hitting songs that speak against bad governance in Zimbabwe. In 2008 she set up VOTO internet radio to protest against Robert Mugabe and broadcast protest work produced by banned Zimbabwe protest artists.
In an interview with Radio VOP aired on Radio Netherlands Viomak reiterated that VOTO is demanding that leaders declare their assets so that they can be held accountable and monitor corruption. She went on to say that Zimbabweans failed to hold ZANU PF accountable and the time to learn from our mistakes is now.
The year long petition that started the campaign to have Zimbabwe leaders declare their assets is still running on her website and on the petitions site since February 2009, under the title “Zimbabwe MDC (GNU) Leaders Declare Your Personal Assets. The song is also available on her website .Viomak also confirmed that proceeds from the song will be used to cover expenses associated with this campaign as follow up is required to make sure that the leaders honour their word and stick to it.