Mapfumo, who is based in the United States, joins a growing list of human rights defenders and United Nations agencies who feel the administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa is abusing Covid-19 lockdown restrictions to crack down on dissenting voices.
The United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) on Friday raised concerns over growing cases of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
In its statement, UNHRC said: “… the authorities [in Zimbabwe] may be using the Covid-19 pandemic as a pretext to clamp down on freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly and association.”
Since the advent of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown meant to tame the spread of the coronavirus, government has arrested a myriad of opposition activists, including the recent incarceration of journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume on allegations of inciting public violence and breaching the lockdown regulations.
It is against this backdrop that on Friday, Mapfumo took to social media to raise his concern over the increased human rights abuses in the country.
“As a leader always mediates on your oath of office, respect the Holy Bible you swore on and respect the constitution.
“Serve the people; their voice is the voice of God. Zimbabwe ndeye vanhu [is for the people],” Mapfumo twitted via his Twitter handle @OfficialMukanya.
Mukanya, who for years has been fighting for the “liberation of the people of Zimbabwe”, said he would continue raising concerns, especially when the masses in Zimbabwe are suffering.
“As I am alive, I have to be seen fighting side-by-side with my people (because) when they are liberated, I am also liberated. So, that’s my goal [and] I want to see Zimbabwean people free,” he said
The musician said people in Zimbabwe should enjoy their fundamental liberties as enshrined in the constitution.
“They [Zimbabweans] should have freedom of speech, freedom of movement and no one should harass them,” he said.
“That country is for all Zimbabweans, not for a few individuals, and we should just respect that name Zimbabwe.”
This is not the first time that Mukanya has taken the authorities in Zimbabwe head-on.
In his 34th independence anniversary message to Zimbabwe, Mukanya said: “Even though I was not holding a gun, it was a difficult terrain and I was constantly harassed, arrested and detained because I denounced oppression and colonialism.
“My dream was to see a free Zimbabwe where our citizens are able to access education, health, access to decent accommodation, and above all a better life for everyone.”
The Oregon-based musician has reiterated that his music stands for freedom and justice.
Throughout his career, the 75-year-old musician has been a very vocal critique of social injustices perpetrated on the general population by the ruling elite.