Mutamba chickens out on Tuku promise

HARARE - Former Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi publicist and author of the superstar’s biography Tuku Backstage Shepherd Mutamba has reneged on his promise to present a copy of the second edition to the singer.

Mutamba said he felt he could no longer do that after Tuku’s camp labelled him “a barking dog”.

In a previous interview with this publication the author had promised to give Tuku a copy of the explosive book released last month in person but yesterday he told the Daily News that he was no longer keen in fulfilling the promise after being insulted by the artiste’s manager Walter Wanyanya.

“I felt it was proper for me to give Tuku a copy of the book because he is the subject of the biography and he had, after all, given me very insightful interviews about his life and music. Above all, there was no bad blood between us after parting ways amicably in 2013.

“But after his recent remarks through his manager, Wanyanya, that I am a barking dog, in response to the new book, I considered the matter seriously and decided against giving Tuku Music a copy of the book.

“Tuku Music should have just handled the matter without sinking to the level of insults and name calling,” Mutamba said.

“Honestly, I felt I would demean myself if I went to meet a person calling me a dog.”

Mtukudzi’s tell-all biography Tuku Backstage (Second Edition) implies the internationally-acclaimed artiste supports ruling party Zanu PF even though the Black Spirits front man is on record saying he is apolitical.  

However, Mutamba used more pictures to drive his point home in his latest book.

In one of the chapters titled Politics, the author published pictures showing Mtukudzi, on separate occasions, hosting high profile Zanu PF politicians at his Pakare Paye Art Centre in Norton.   

The politicians include Christian Katsande who was former President Robert Mugabe’s deputy chief secretary, Nicholas Goche who served as minister of State Security, former police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri who headed Mugabe’s partisan, brutal and corrupt police force, Perrance Shiri former Air Marshal and Saviour Kasukuwere who was the party’s political commissar among other Zanu PF heavyweights.    

Mutamba, however, told this publication that he was not sure what Mtukudzi and Zanu PF politicians were discussing. 

“My job was to take pictures, I do not know what they were discussing, but he just hosted them at the arts centre. They were private meetings. I never saw him with opposition politicians,” Mutamba said.  

The book reiterates that Mugabe used to pamper the artiste with special expensive gifts.

“The gifts were not purely a gesture of goodwill without strings attached. In politics there is no true benevolence.

“Mugabe did not give expensive gifts to influential artists for nothing. Tuku is powerful and shapes public opinion in a way that can swing votes, and Mugabe knew that,” reads part of the book.

“At the age of 93, Mugabe was still insatiable for power, and would not give Tuku gifts because he was a generous old man or that he wanted to make friends; far from it. Mugabe was shrewd and used gifts to buy votes and loyalty. He knew that if he threw expensive gifts at certain people, he gained their allegiance or he silenced them.

“Tuku was compromised, more in a fix, really, as long as Mugabe was in power. He could not easily extricate himself from Mugabe’s grip after accepting the presents,” Mutamba said in the book. 

Speaking through his manager Wanyanya, Tuku said he has not seen the book.

“We haven’t seen the book; in any case the book is of no concern to us and we are going on with our work as usual, if the author feels the need to deliver a copy of the book to Mtukudzi then he can freely do so.

“We never insulted him (Mutamba) as he claims. Rather, it is him who is taking it as an insult,” Wanyanya said.

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