Zimbabwean rapper Holy Ten, real name Mukudzei Chitsama, has expressed his support for President Emmerson Mnangagwa and ZANU PF in the upcoming August 23 election. However, his endorsement has received criticism from journalist Hopewell Chin’ono.
In a video he posted on his Instagram account, Holy Ten urged Zimbabweans to rally behind President Mnangagwa citing developmental work he is doing around the country. Watch the video below for more.
Chin’ono said while Holy Ten has the right to support whomever he chooses, it is up to the people of Zimbabwe to decide if they want to continue supporting an artist who aligns with a regime that has imprisoned political opponents like Job Sikhala without conviction. He said:
"Zimbabwean rapper @holytenmusic has declared his support for President Emmerson Mnangagwa and ZANU-PF in the forthcoming August 23 election. He also amplified the slogan coined by a paedophile who raped a 10-year-old child who said ED Huchi."
@holytenmusic has a right to support whoever the wants, but choices have consequences. It is up to Zimbabweans to make a decision and choice if they want to continue supporting the music of an artist who supports a regime that has jailed its opponents like Job Sikhala without conviction. It is up to Zimbabweans to choose whether they will support the music of a man who wants their economic pain to continue. It is up to Zimbabweans to choose whether they will support the music of a man who doesn’t care about the unnecessary lives lost to easily treatable diseases like cancer.
Zimbabweans have to be serious about their choices regarding supporting people and institutions that are sending kids to bed on empty stomachs. It is up to Zimbabweans to support the music of man who doesn’t care about the 2500 women who die every year giving birth. It is up to Zimbabweans both home and abroad whether they want to attend shows of a man who supports the continuation of 95% unemployment and who supports the diaspora having to look after their families in Zimbabwe due to poverty. It is up to you Zimbabweans to make that decision, @holytenmusic has made his decision, he is supporting the repressive regime.
RETWEET for others to see how power without responsibility can result in empowering the people that make you suffer. @holytenmusic has used his power to do so, it is up to you how you will use your own power!"
Responding to Chin’ono, the ruling party said telling members of the public to cancel Holy Ten won’t work. Said the party:
"Is this democracy? You are literally telling people to cancel Holy Ten. It won’t work."
In response to Holy Ten’s endorsement of President Mnangagwa, some social media users have stated that they no longer listen to his music on platforms such as Spotify. This backlash is not unique to Holy Ten, as other artists like Kicky Badass, Sandra Ndebele, Mambo Dhuterere, and Allan Chimbetu have also faced similar criticism after endorsing Mnangagwa.
The political landscape in Zimbabwe is highly polarised.
During Robert Mugabe’s reign, artists were hesitant to perform at opposition rallies or create songs that criticised political elites. Notably, Thomas Mukanya Mapfumo had to flee into exile due to persecution for exposing corruption within the Mugabe regime. However, in recent times, more artists have openly expressed their support for opposition parties, which was considered dangerous in the past. Conversely, openly supporting ZANU PF can also be risky, as it may lead to backlash from the public who accuse them of aligning with an oppressive regime. Some observers have raised concerns about perceived double standards among opposition supporters. They highlight that opposition lawyers, who hold office within the party, have represented ZANU PF officials without facing the same backlash as the artists.