Viomak Under Attack
The life of prominent protest singer Viomak is in danger in Britain after a former chief reporter with the Zimbabwe government ZanuPF run state newspaper, The Chronicle called her a Swina (Svina) bitch and threatened to strangle her neck. Admore was chief reporter for the state controlled newspaper from 1994-2001 and he helped President Robert Mugabe’s dictatorship regime to oppress dissenting voices. Like other state newspapers, the Chronicle is a ZanuPF mouthpiece notorious for publishing stories that silence opposing voices and denounce freedom of speech and democracy while promoting ZanuPF propaganda. The Chronicle’s sister newspaper, the Herald once described Viomak as satan for singing against ZanuPF and Mugabe human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. Due to poverty many journalists and many desperate Zimbabweans of all tribes spy for ZanuPF for a living.
Admore Tshuma is believed to be in Britain where he is alleged to have sought asylum fearing his life is in danger from ZanuPF. Some source claims he went to Britain on a student visa but not sure who the sponsor is. Coincidentally, ZanuPF also sponsors its spies to take up academic programmes in different countries and the Zimbabwe embassies in many countries are also manned by ZanuPF supporters and spies. In Britain he is believed to have been a correspondent for The Sun and Daily Mail in London and would also cover Southern African political stories for The Sunday Times.
Admore warned Viomak that he will not be intimidated by her in email communications after seeing her email on her website and threatened her with death. The threats came unexpectedly to Viomak as she had done nothing wrong to the journalist and she was not even aware who Admore until after he started her research and investigation having received the threatening emails from the journalist. Viomak asked Admore what wrong she had done to him and referred to him as hanzvadzi (brother). This further angered the tribalist Admore who said he is not Viomak’s brother and he has no Shona sister. The tribal arrogance was motivated by the hate many Ndebele tribe Zimbabweans harbour against Shona tribe Zimbabweans over ZanuPF’s involvement in a conflict dubbed Gukurahundi in Matebeleland that killed many Zimbabweans in the Ndebele stronghold province, of which Viomak is Shona and Admore is Ndebele. The Ndebeles blame the Shonas for perpetrating the gukurahundi violence which was not perpetrated by the Shonas but was perpetrated by ZanuPF following political conflict between ZanuPF leader Robert Mugabe and Ndebele Zapu leader Joshua Nkomo. According to information on Wikipedia, Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo was a Zimbabwean revolutionary and Georgist politician who served as Vice-President of Zimbabwe from 1990 until his death in 1999. He founded and led the Zimbabwe African People’s Union from 1961 until it merged in 1987 with Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union to form ZanuPF.
Viomak who is well known for producing anti-Mugabe music and denouncing the party for destroying Zimbabwe, is a known target of ZanuPF violence and she faces death threats from the political party and its supporters and sympathizers days on end. This recent warning has shocked the popular singer who sneaked out of Zimbabwe in 2006 fearing for her life. The protest singer-cum-activist who had to cross the Zimbabwean border illegally through Botswana on her way to the UK is convinced that Admore Tshuma is a ZanuPF central intelligence organization (CIO) state agent and is using the typical CIO underground tactics to get to her. It was also confirmed to Viomak by a source close to Admore’s activities that the messages written by the said journalist on his facebook wall are extremely suspicious and disturbing with one message indicating that he was watching closely a situation in Britain.
Admore threatened Viomak after the journalist allegedly solicited for a bribe from Girl Child Network founder Betty Makoni who was being accused of abusing Taremeredzwa’s donor funds after the girl living with a tumor flew to Britain for a medical operation. It is claimed Betty Makoni was to pay Admore in exchange for good publicity and for a donor funds story to be unpublished from Zimdiaspora online newspaper where Admore had published the article as a journalist. In a separate email, Admore harassed Viomak on why she helped Taremeredzwa. Viomak who is also closely related to Taremeredzwa went out her way to make sure that the girl’s stay in Britain was well catered for. Viomak who supported Taremeredzwa’s charity appeal as a volunteer said the threats on her life by Admore are uncalled for and the evidence she has gathered so far has linked the journalist to a group of ZanuPF dangerous state agents working on facebook to target their enemies who include ZanuPF opposing voices like her.
“Right now I am also worried about Taremeredzwa and her family’s safety when they go back to Zimbabwe. Why would any normal person harass someone for helping out someone in need. All the evidence is there. All I did was help but the harassment has continued with the reporter for ZimDiaspora, Admore going to the extent of publishing my cell phone number on his website without my consent.” Said Viomak.
The protest singer who is working on her sixth music album Happy 86th birthday President R.G Mugabe (Supreme Leader) out in February 2010,said reliable sources told her that Britain is infested with ZanuPF state agents many of who claimed political asylum and were granted refugee status whilst genuine asylum claims are thrown out.
In a bid to intimidate the singer, the journalist boasted in an email to Viomak quoted below and bragging that,
“I hold an undergraduate and Master’s degree in Journalism from London’s City University. I worked in Zimbabwe for 9 years in a daily newspaper, I was the first journalist in 1998 to cover the story of the Gukurahundi massacres in Matebeleland. I was hounded by people who are viewed as dangerous, for example Chen Chimutengwende who accused me of writing the Gukurahundi story. I have been sued more than 5 times by people viewed as dangerous. Finally, just around the corner talk to the editor of the Sunday Times in London Mr Hellen, I have worked for the paper on a placement and broke a record of breaking a front page within a week’s placement. This is to warn you that I cannot be intimidated by people like you. I am thick-skinned.”
The thick skinned journalist’s actions which Viomak consider as being very irresponsible and unprofessional is a good example of how some outspoken courageous Zimbabwean women are suffering under the merciless hands of some male journalists. This kind of bullying and harassment is not new to Viomak who some men view as too outspoken and thus try by all means to silence her. So the best move these men take is publish fake news on their news sites thinking this will take away the power from such women.
“It is sad that whilst some men are busy trying to remove ZanuPF and Robert Mugabe from power some cowardice low lifers are busy terrorizing innocent women whilst struggling to find criminal cases against them. What a shame. Right now I know that what I am going to get after exposing this journalist is bad publicity on their website. This is how these male Zimbabwe print and online journalists victimize women who challenge their sadist behaviors , and are using their online news platforms to intimidate and to terrorise outspoken women. ” Said Viomak.
Viomak who is taking Admore’s warning and threats seriously said between 2007 and 2008 she petitioned the British Government to look into the issue of ZanuPF supporters who claimed asylum and were given refugee status whilst the cases of some genuine asylum seekers were thrown out. The ZanuPF supporters who are sponsored and planted by ZanuPF in different countries start terrorising opposing voices after they are granted refugee status with many of them lying that they are opposition supporters. The petition was not actioned by authorities.
“No wonder why dangerous terrorists find a safe haven in Britain. No one seems to give an ear to the words of those at risk. If they don’t take my concerns seriously, I will take up the issue with the United Nations. We can’t have a situation where one runs away from Mugabe’s ZanuPF terrorists only to meet up with the terrorists again here whilst the British Government gives a deaf ear. I will soon make a report to the police and give them names of the suspects so that their moves and agendas in Britain are closely monitored.” Said Viomak.
Admore Tshuma takes pride that he is a close friend of Jonathan Moyo and the two come from Matebeleland. Jonathan Moyo, the former ZanuPF information minister and Tsholotsho North independent MP who was recently re-admitted into the party he once described as a “dead duck on the shelf, only breathing from evils of state security and the abuse of funds,” is well known for crafting the draconian repressive laws, POSA and AIPPA that have destroyed press freedom and democracy in Zimbabwe. Ironically Admore Tshuma is said to be pursuing studies in Global Poverty, Social Justice and Human Rights Law at University of Bristol in Britain.
“It is weird that someone who is studying global poverty, social justice and human rights law views Jonathan Moyo, an oppressor who crafted repressive laws such as AIPPA and initiated the closing down of the Daily news, Zimbabwe’s independent daily paper as his hero. One wonders what Admore is really studying in his social justice and human rights law classes. Someone who crafted POSA and AIPPA is only a hero to people of the same caliber. It is unfortunate that the right people who really deserve study opportunities such as his will never be granted those opportunities. The moment I Iearnt that Admore is a former chief reporter at The Chronicle, a state run newspaper and ZanuPF mouthpiece, I immediately knew he is dangerous. The fact that he is a scholar at a University also made me suspect his mission in Britain because ZanuPF sponsors these students and more so many of the suspects who are causing terror around the world register as students.” Said Viomak.
The reporters at the state run newspapers are well known for being ZanuPF undercovers and Viomak has every reason to fear for her life. Some reporters of the independent newspapers are also state agent spies. A striking example is that of a Zimbabwe Independent reporter Augustine Mukaro who was masquerading as an independent journalist but in realty he was a ZanuPF spy after which the newspaper named and shamed him.
Following her outspokenness Viomak’s stories are banned in the so called independent newspapers , including the Zimbabwe Standard, owned by Matebeleland bred, Ncube after she suspected one of their reporters of being a ZanuPF CIO. Viomak said her suspicions are justified because Mugabe’s deadly agents can be anyone, anywhere. They can be the priest in the church or even the husband in the house so everyone is a suspect. ZanuPF has polarized all systems in Zimbabwe and has planted spies to the extent that human rights defenders, activists and Zimbabweans are always living a life of fear wherever they are on the planet.
The issue of Gukurahundi and Zimbabwe artists remains a diamond in a dark pit as human rights abusers continue to harass artists home and away in a bid to silence artistic voices.
Whilst the world has the impression that Mugabe and ZanuPF are the only human rights abusers who are against artistic freedom of expression, prominent protest singer cum activist Viomak and other witnesses who have privately contacted Viomak have a different story to tell. The singer is paying back for singing a song about Gukurahundi as some Ndebeles continue to harass her for expressing herself in song.
Her life has come under a new wave of threats after another Ndebele man who is a journalist, Zenzele Ndebele, desperate for revenge having failed to silence Viomak , requested that someone expose Viomak on Facebook. The singer who has been using a pseudonym since 2005 for security reasons is well known for her vibrant political activism that has seen her produce protest music to highlight the socio-political issues facing Zimbabweans whilst blaming ZanuPF and Mugabe for the mess and despising bad leaders including bad opposition leaders for being incompetent and useless. If caught she will be charged for going against Public Order and Security Act (POSA). POSA is a piece of legislation introduced in Zimbabwe in 2002 by a ZanuPF dominated parliament. The act was amended in 2007. The chief architects of POSA are Jonathan Moyo and Emmerson Mnangagwa. The draconian legislation helped Robert Mugabe to consolidate his power and it gave the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) extra powers to deal with human rights issues. POSA is viewed as an unjust plot to thwart freedom of expression and the legislation has been used to arrest artists such as Owen Maseko.
Aware of this, Zenzele Ndebele has gone on an evil spree to expose Viomak in a bid to put herself and her family in trouble with ZanuPF, the reason being Zenzele does not like the song Gukurahundi that Viomak recorded as it speaks the real truth behind the conflict that caused ZanuPF to massacre citizens in Matabeleland. In the song Viomak calls for unity between Shonas and Ndebeles but Zenzele feels it is his view only that is right so he wants the protest singer to be put down. Commenting on the new development Viomak said,
“The life of a Zimbabwean protest artist is always in danger since freedom of expression oppressors are always against hearing the truth. The moment you create the truth you are assured of hoarding enemies who will do whatever is within their means to silence you. Even journalists hate truth but they claim to be writing truth and they demand press freedom to write truth but hate and hurt those who speak and sing truth.” She said.
The outspoken singer who was inspired by her experiences as a banned singer and founded a free expression organization, Zimbabwe Institute For Free Expression (ZIFFE) that advocates for free speech continues to be harassed by some Ndebeles over her controversial song Gukurahundi with some claiming that she is not an artist and others saying she has defamed Lobengula their king by singing that Lobengula and Robert Mugabe are human rights abusers as she calls for Ndebeles and Shonas to unite. Some Ndebeles have written her emails demanding clarification and some have asked for explanations through her facebook message inbox. Among those who have contacted Viomak over the song is Mthwakazian editor. Mthwakazi is a group of hate filled Ndebele people who are demanding that Zimbabwe be demarcated with one side for Shonas and one side for Ndelebes . The tribalistic Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) is a pro-Ndebele and anti-Shona group and Viomak speaks against their hate fuelled agenda to dismantle Zimbabwe.
The harassment and hypocrisy leaves a lot to be desired as some of the Ndebeles including Zenzele, are calling for the freedom of a Ndebele artist Owen Maseko who was recently arrested in Zimbabwe over his Gukurahundi paintings, highlighting what happened during the era. Zenzele who was also at the forefront of highlighting Owen Maseko’s arrest, condemning the arrest as undemocratic and disallowing artistic freedom accused Viomak of misleading the nation in her lyrics and he believes that Owen is not misleading the nation because Owen is from Matebeleland like Zenzele. Zenzele who was also angered by Viomak’s use of the word madzviti in the song attacked her on why she used the word madzviti saying it is not helpful in any way but Ndebeles find it helpful to use the word swina (svina) to refer to Shonas.
“Coincidentally Owen Maseko was arrested for painting the story of gukurahundi something which is deemed as not helpful by others and Zenzele is persecuting me for singing the story of gukurahundi which he says is not helpful in any way. As artists Owen Maseko painted the gukurahundi story which I supported and helped to promote the art , and I sang the gukurahundi story and in Zenzele’s eyes it is wrong for me to artistically express myself because I am Shona and it is right for Owen to artistically express himself because he is Ndebele. This is hypocrisy at its best on Zenzele’s side and his other culprits”. Said Viomak.
The arrest of artist Owen Maseko over his Gukurahundi paintings and the threats on Viomak’s life over her song Gukurahundi is evidence that freedom of artistic expression is still not guaranteed amongst some Ndebeles and ZanuPF, and that protest artists are constantly under threat. Maseko’s paintings which are interpreted by some as demeaning Shonas and Mugabe was arrested for his art. Viomak’s song which is interpreted by some as demeaning Ndebeles and Lobengula is being threatened for her art.
Since Gukurahundi many Ndebeles have blamed Mugabe and the Shonas for the massacres in Matebeleland .Up to today some Ndebeles harbour feelings of hate and anger towards Shonas which is one reason why some Ndebeles are calling for Owen Maseko’s freedom and Viomak’s persecution even though the artists are exposing similar issues.
Apart from being irked by the fact that Viomak went beyond the history of Gukurahundi versas ZanuPF Mugabe and ZAPU Nkomo and touched on the history of the Shonas and Lobengula (a true history that some Ndebeles don’t want to hear about), Zenzele was also irked by the fact that Viomak exposed him as a hypocrite and a tribalist who was giving people the impression that Viomak was glorifying Mugabe’s Gukurahundi. Yet Zenzele was actually helped to market his Gukurahundi film by Viomak. Viomak contacted Zenzele and offered to promote the film on the internet. Despite the fact that Viomak was instrumental in helping Ndebele market his Gukurahundi film, phoning Ndebele, who she has not met in person, in Zimbabwe to have him send the DVD to her at Viomak’s cost, Zenzele has gone on a spree to look for Viomak’s head and asking ZanuPF supporters to get Viomak knowing very well that the protest singer has officially assumed the name Viomak for security reasons. How evil is that, biting the hand that feeds him. He doesn’t see the good that the Shona singer did to him because he hates Shonas. One wonders why he agreed to send his film to a Shona woman for promotion.
After deleting Viomak from his facebook friends’ list the named and shamed, defeated and annoyed Zenzele shared a desperate post on facebook on Tuesday. His desperate request quoted below is said to have harvested less than five responses. He quoted the below quote on Wikipedia,
“Viomak is arguably the only woman Zimbabwean protest singer and one of the country’s popular protest musicians. Viomak has been likened to opposition activists and journalists, who are being harassed and arrested under laws such as POSA designed to quell discontent,” and he went on to say, “This woman likes beating her own drum. Who can tell me her really name Tue at 3:24pm • Comment • Like.”
Unknown to Zenzele, the words that he plagiarized from Wikipedia are a paragraph taken from a story on Viomak which was written by a Zimbabwe journalist. Ndebele thought he was exposing the singer as someone who beats her own drum all in an effort to discredit her work.
Even though the banned singer is a well known protest singer, Zenzele and his mates are desperate to discredit Viomak as one despite the fact that in November 2007 Zenzele wrote an article titled, “How Zimbabwean musicians avoid censorship” that was published on FreeMuse in which he indicated that, “Another way of evading censorship is to migrate to other countries. There are a lot of Zimbabwean artists who have left the country and what they produce is not kind to the government. Artists such as Viomak, Thomas Mapfumo, Lucky Moyo (formerly of Black Umfolosi), and others, have been making international headlines from their exiles. ”
A few days back as Zenzele and a group of other Ndebeles verbally attacked the singer on facebook over the song, Viomak had to report the abuse by one Shalton Yotham Ngwenya to the police after he sent her a hate message. She is still to get updates on the issue. This is not the first time the singer has been threatened by Ndebele men. In December last year Admore Tshuma a former Zimbabwe Government run The Chronicle newspaper chief reporter warned her that he will not be intimidated by her in an email . The harassment came unexpectedly to her as she had done nothing wrong to him. As the man threatened her he went on to warn her that he is thick skinned and would not be intimidated by people like her .After discussing the issue at that time Viomak confirmed that the hate was about her gukurahundi song even though Admore Tshuma lied to her and gave her the impression that he wanted to investigate Girl Child Network (GCN) for donor funds abuse. Viomak highlighted to him that an investigation about GCN donor funds abuse does not warrant that Admore curse and threaten Viomak for an investigation which has nothing to do with her.
Meanwhile MDC-T opposition leader and Zimbabwe’s Prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai has called for tolerance in the country when he said, “ there can be no place in the new Zimbabwe for hate speech or the persecution of any sector of our population based on race, gender, tribe, culture, sexual orientation or political affiliation. All of us are entitled to our own opinions on certain values and beliefs, but in order to move our nation forward and achieve national reconciliation and healing, we have to uphold and foster the fundamental principle of tolerance, including tolerance of people that have chosen to live, believe and vote differently from ourselves.”