When Sam Mtukudzi died in that horrible accident in the early hours of March 15 2010, the father Oliver Mtukudzi mourned saying “death had robbed him of his only son”.
Though the circumstances were tragic, we felt he had lied to the nation, that Sam was his only son. For we knew otherwise, as did a fair share of his close associates, of the existence of a young man called Selby, then stationed at a seminary in the capital.
We tracked down Selby and his mother, and when we sought comment from Mtukudzi, in typical fashion he was not available for comment. What shocked many was the zest that Shepherd Mutamba, then part of Mtukudzi’s PR team, showed in spearheading a campaign to have The Sunday Mail gagged on this issue.
So it was with little surprise that we were turned away from the Sam Mtukudzi memorial service at Pakare Paye in Norton.
And Mutamba did not stop there: he went to just about every political office in the land with letters that portrayed us as monsters out to devour Mtukudzi. He must have succeeded a bit in managing to have us gagged for soon we found the Mtukudzi territory unnavigable.
Little did we know then, that he had ulterior motives, that the truth that he was barring us from unearthing, he was preserving for his “biography” authorised or otherwise.
From around 2010 and until recently, the relationship between The Sunday Mail in general, and me in particular, with Oliver Mtukudzi has been far from cosy.
I have not been able to attend any of his live performances, and of the few times that I decided to do so, it was with a hooded face. I couldn’t leave anything to chance, especially given the manner in which Mutamba had tried to manhandle me and Mtandazo Dube during the memorial service.
And for some time no one seemed to care that Mutamba had left Mtukudzi’s employ, until he shocked the nation with his biography of Tuku, which Mtukudzi has dismissed as unauthorised.
It is not for us to declare the book official or not. The world over, books get written with or without approval.
What has not missed our attention, and probably that of many others, is that very few if any people have left Mtukudzi’s employ in amicable circumstances in the past 15 years.
But what incensed us, shocked us, riled us, irked us, is that the same issues that we sought to clarify with Mtukudzi back in 2010, the same issues that Mutamba wrote to every other office in the land seeking to silence us over, are the same issues that form the core of his book today. In a big way, we have been vindicated. We have always stood for the truth and at no given moment were we wont to destroy any personality.
These are values that we cherish in our everyday pursuance of the truth.
Since The Sunday Mail broke the story of Mtukudzi having bedded the late Mwendakanyi Chibindi, who was one of his backing vocalists, there has always been a perception that we are out to destroy the person and character of the music legend called Tuku.
This theory has been favoured by his fans who have found it difficult to reconcile his musical brilliance with his misdeeds, forgetting in the process that as he himself points out he is human and fallible. When Samantha eloped with Tinashe Nengomasha and The Sunday Mail covered that, it was seen as part of the sinister plot to paint him with the blackest of brushes. Ditto when he failed to pay for that birthday cake, no one could believe us. It was all because “The Sunday Mail has never seen anything that Mtukudzi does good”.
And when he mourned his “only son” and we sought to correct him, all hell broke loose.
Now that Mutamba has taken the bull by the horns, he might as well go on and show us all the warts in the Mtukudzi family. Probably the first and foremost question that he has to answer in his book is if Mtukudzi knows his HIV status (we do not believe there is or should be stigma associated with this!).
Why HIV? Because Mwendakanyi in her diaries, which we had sight of back then, explicitly narrates of the many sexual encounters that the two had and her eventually being diagnosed of herpes and subsequently the “virus”.
Why HIV? Because Mtukudzi is a long-standing ambassador and advocate of HIV and Aids-related issues. And the sooner he lets the nation know of his status not that he has any obligation to, but given the circumstances, it would help us understand and respect him better. Then there is the little issue of Daisy Mtukudzi. We feel part of the reason why we were gagged is because of her. – Sunday Mail