Exiled former cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo has voiced support for talented musician Rockford Josphat, aka Roki, who is being roasted by a section of Zimbabweans for being part of a song in which Congolese Rhumba maestro and co-producer Koffi Olomide murmurs President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s name in between.
The Rhumba tune, co-produced with Tanzania’s Rayvany, garnered nearly a million views in just 24 hours after its released under the Passion Java Records.
The mention of Mnangagwa’s name in the song has ignited widespread condemnation from some critics who feel Roki was unnecessarily soiling his brand through associating it with the Zimbabwean leader.
Among those who voiced support for Roki is Moyo, who felt the young crooner was merely expressing his artistic talents.
“If anyone is offended by the insipid Kofi Olomide lyric, ‘ED Munangagwa, Number One’, which he chants only once in his ‘Patati Patata’ collabo with Roki & Tanzania’s Rayvany, then they need a moral compass. The chant is dumb, but not offensive. Give #Roki a break, he deserves it!” Moyo said.
Among those who disagreed with Moyo is prominent journalist and government critic Hopewell Chin’ono who felt Roki was being used as a pawn in a looting scandal by Mnangagwa allegedly using Passion Java.
“I disagree with @ProfJNMoyo on this one,” Chin’ono said.
“He is only looking at Roki, ignoring the owners of the project, and how it is funded, and where the funds are coming from, and who is being deprived with the looting of these funds!
“We can’t be upset with looting, and not its outcomes!”
But Moyo kept his stance, saying that there was no evidence yet that Roki was using looted funds to produce the song.
“Fine. And I disagree with you @daddyhope on this one. Olomide & Rayvany aside, I am with #Roki, a Zimbabwean artist whose artistic & livelihood interests matter. Artistic content is owned by its creators. I’ve seen no EVIDENCE that looted funds have been used to produce the song!”
A Jenandebvu, Dhara @AskJenandebvu was quick to caution against local musician for “singing for his supper” and “emboldening the oppressor”.
Moyo said “there must be limits to the policing of ideas, arts & creativity. Artistic, intellectual and moral policemen are very dangerous in any society!”