2023 Elections: Zim celebrities who opened up about their political choices

Abel Karowangoro
The entertainment industry has been ablaze with surprise as celebrities boldly reveal their political affiliations ahead of the 2023 elections.

In a nation where political sentiments are often kept close to the chest due to concerns over backlash and professional consequences, these well-known figures are breaking the mold by publicly expressing their political preferences.

Leading the charge in this wave of political transparency is Sani Makhalima, a contemporary musician who captured headlines in 2022 by pledging his support to the Citizen Coalition for Change (CCC).

Makhalima said, “May we as Zimbabweans be blessed with a brighter tomorrow.
Our generation’s blood, sweat, and tears shouldn’t be in vain.”

This marked a watershed moment, as celebrities in Zimbabwe typically shy away from openly discussing political matters.

Makhalima is not alone in his willingness to step into the political arena.

Another prominent voice in the Zimbabwean entertainment industry is Thomas Mapfumo, who has long been known for his outspoken criticism of the ruling government, particularly targeting President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mapfumo’s consistency in sharing his dissenting opinions has made him a beacon of resistance in the artistic community.

Outspoken artist Winky D, has been associated with the opposition figure Nelson Chamisa, where officials often reference his songs. He has not openly come out in declaring political alignment.

Through his music, Winky D has highlighted issues such as poor governance and human rights abuses, with songs like “Kasong keJecha” (which translates to “Disruptive Vote”).

This song, along with its accompanying catchphrase “Kudira Jecha,” gained traction as a reflection of political dissatisfaction aligned with the opposition.

However, Winky D’s journey took an unexpected twist with his latest album, featuring a collaboration with a ZANU-PF loyalist, Holy Ten.

The album’s release was met with controversy, resulting in a ban on state media radio stations and limited government support.

This incident marked a reminder of the complexities and potential consequences that celebrities face when aligning with political causes.
A new trend has emerged as a cadre of Zim dancehall artists officially declare their allegiance to ZANU-PF.

Some of these artists have even ventured into the realm of politics, participating in ZANU-PF primary elections. Passion Java, Enzo Ishall, Holy Ten, Kikki Badass, Ricky Fire, and Sandra Ndebele, among others.

The music industry’s shift in allegiance has been particularly evident among Zim dancehall artists.

The likes of Dj Fantan, Dj Levels, Jah Master, Bazooka, Pumacol, Uncle Epatan, Ginna Marina, Automan, Shashl, Yahyah Goodvibes, Ras Pompy, and Ras Caleb have all publicly aligned themselves with ZANU-PF.

Mambo Dhuterere, another prominent musician, gained considerable attention during the ZANU-PF campaigning period.

He even dedicated a song to President Mnangagwa, further emphasing the intersection of music and politics in the country.

The 2023 elections in Zimbabwe have brought to light a new era of transparency and engagement within the entertainment industry.

As celebrities openly align themselves with various political factions, the age-old separation between art and politics has blurred, prompting conversations about the influence of celebrity endorsements and the power of artistic expression in shaping the nation’s future

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