LATEST: Kudakwashe Mahachi’s silence sets tongues wagging

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Kuda Mahachi and his wife Rose Tatenda Mahachi

PERHAPS it should come as no surprise that Kudakwashe Mahachi and his wife, Rose Mahachi have returned to Zimbabwe to defend themselves from accusations that they were abusing their four-year-old son and topped off the cruelty by scalding him with boiling water from a kettle when he visited them in South Africa.

But what has come as a surprise is that the vilified couple has decided not only to keep a low profile but their silence after initially going on a warpath against the minor’s mother, Maritha Ndlovu, family and the media for expressing shock and horror upon learning of the degree of the child’s injuries.

Maybe that’s a wise course of action. Staying quiet could be a welcome intermission from the weeks of relentless coverage that left Mahachi and his wife overexposed. And Mahachi did warn us that he was going on mute after he told this reporter that his lawyer has barred him from talking to the media.

But, it’s still worth questioning whether maintaining his silence for so long is the right strategy for the Mahachis, who will eventually need to demonstrate to the public beyond the statements of denials and threats issued through his lawyer, Nkosiyabo Sibanda of Tanaka Law Chambers that they are truly innocent and regret the state of affairs that have seen them being investigated by the police for not only burning the child, but also smuggling him to Zimbabwe and keeping him at home and in the process denying him medical care that could have reduced the severity of the injuries he suffered, allegedly, when he was under their custody.

Talking to the media is, of course, easier said than done. The couple would most likely drown under a barrage of never-ending questions. No doubt, the Mahachis and their lawyers are weighing up options as to where and when they break their silence and taking time to craft the right messages for them to start on the road to repairing their reputation.

Indications are that they will do their talking in court.

But in the court of public opinion, it may be too late — only the courts can save them now — but it’s worth trying.

In all fairness to Mr and Mrs Mahachi, they probably could use a period away from the spotlight to reflect on how they got themselves into this mess in the first place. But while it is understandable that they need time for some soul searching, the clock is ticking.

Most public relations and communication experts would advise that Mahachi should stop sounding like a broken record by denying that he harmed his son and apologise for not being there for him from day one. It may be true that he did not hurt his son, but where was he when his child was being admitted in hospital? He was holed up in his base in South Africa, where he put the blame for his son’s injuries on his sisters, grandmother and ex-wife.

That apology would be the first step in pursuit of image rehabilitation. It’s hard to think that he will be able to win back his fans and admirers unless he does more to clear the air.

What little the world has seen of Mahachi is a deleted footage on Asakhane Live on Facebook in which he accused his sisters of having caused the injuries on his son by injecting him with harmful substances.

“People believe what they have read. Firstly, my son’s pictures are circulating. Why are people circulating the pictures when my child is in pain? Secondly, people say I used my son for money rituals. How can I hurt my son for money rituals?

“This thing pains me because no one wants to hear my side of the story. My sisters, they know what they did. They know what they injected my son with. My son left South Africa in one piece, he was okay and he was walking. My sisters know the doctor they used to inject my son and everything,” said Mahachi in the video.

Not hiding from the media sends the right message. But of course, he will need guidance from his lawyers because his ill-thought responses have so far done more damage than good. Witness his first denial when our sister paper, B-Metro interviewed him.

“I am the father of the child and I am not aware that he is burnt. As far as I know I sent him to Zimbabwe in one piece. Don’t listen to lies. There is nothing like that. My son is okay. My son was not burnt. If he was burnt then he was burnt in Zimbabwe, not here in South Africa. Go ahead and write your lies, already I see your stories on social media,” said Mahachi.

The “people hate us. We don’t know why and we don’t know what we did to them” response that his wife has not been afraid to express, must also be muted from their statements. No one hates the Mahachis, the nation loves Kuda the footballer and marvelled at their beautiful wedding and baby bump pictures.

The nation just wants answers to questions about what happened to their child.

The Mahachis should speak for themselves because speaking through the lawyer, who has decided not to answer questions or grant interviews, makes them look guilty. Perhaps they should come and be hosted on Zimpapers Television Network, or have a sit down with a journalist of their choice. That will help address the controversy.

It’s well past time the Mahachis amplify their side of the story without using the scripted responses of their lawyer.

The Mahachis have incredible charisma, and they need to summon it sooner than later by speaking about how they are trying to address the trouble they find themselves in.

Kuda must also reach out to his ex-wife and together they should rally to their son’s aid. Not talking to Maritha sends the wrong message — that he cares more about himself than his son. By ignoring her and avoiding her as he tries to be there for his son, who has been in hospital with his mother for more than a month now, he is potentially giving the impression that he thinks he’s already done what he needs to be done to set things right by just being there.

“I understand that he does not want anything to do with me, but this is not about me. This is about his son,” said Maritha recently.

Mahachi’s defenders will no doubt argue he should not yield to his overly impatient detractors; he should speak when he is good and ready and not a moment quicker. Unfortunately, that is a naive sentiment in a world where the endless supply of headlines applies increasing pressure by the day.

The controversy that the Mahachis find themselves in has been addressed by a continuing parade of interested parties, clearly indicating that the silence from Kuda and Rose is not helping. Mahachi’s grandmother has spoken and she blamed him for his son’s injuries.

A close relative has also spoken. Maritha has spoken. A local pastor, Jabulani Nzimah-Ndlovu (Mfundisi Ndlovu) of Ekukhanyeni International Church of Christ in Cowdray Park suburb, who is trusted by his sisters has spoken. Mahachi’s lawyer has spoken.

The more the Mahachis wait to break the silence they have imposed upon themselves, the more their silence speaks for them.

— Herald


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