Legendary musician Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi’s death touched many in an extraordinary way, compressing the world into a tiny village, as people from all over converged in one frozen moment to mourn the icon.
His death, sad as it were, provided Zimbabweans with a rare opportunity to unite again following decades of mounting hate fuelled by political and economic upheavals, which can be squarely blamed on successive Zanu PF government’s malgovernance.
For a brief moment, the tragedy diverted public attention from the political arena, as the nation sang with one voice in celebrating the life of the country’s global goodwill ambassador.
Thousands descended on the small town of Norton as well as the National Sports Stadium and his final resting home in Madziwa to bid farewell to a gallant son of the soil, whose hero status is unquestionable.
The young, the old, clergy and political godfathers all took turns to pay homage to a great unifier, whose music was a tonic for any social ailment.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, his political rival Nelson Chamisa, former Vice-President Joice Mujuru and even long-forgotten former First Lady Grace Mugabe made a beeline to Tuku’s home in Norton to console the musician’s family.
This, indeed, was a God-given moment for Zimbabweans, especially politicians, to take a cue from Tuku’s well-lived life, bury their differences and take the country on a reconciliatory path.
But our leaders blew up the chance by allowing personal egos, selfishness and deeply entrenched political party prejudices to take the better part of them. They, instead viewed the opportunity as a platform for political grandstanding.
Suddenly, the beetles and slugs crawled from under the rocks and presented themselves as mourners, what a charade.
Tuku’s death would have been that “Damascane moment” that the country has been waiting for all along to open a new page of political tolerance following decades of intolerance and persecution of citizens exercising their democratic rights.
It would appear the sad event further exposed the torn seams of Zimbabwe’s political cloak. The barring of Chamisa and Zimdancehall artise Winky D from entering the National Sports Stadium on Saturday by overzealous security agents just goes to show how far we are from healing politically.
As if that was not enough, the security agents again attempted to bar Chamisa from attending the burial of Tuku in Madziwa yesterday, before angry mourners came to his rescue.
This little act just goes to show that as Tuku is finally laid to rest, for the majority of citizens, it’s back to the political trenches — what a shame!
As the old adage goes, opportunity lost can never be regained.