“Don’t follow me, I have the right to live,” blurred Mtukudzi’s classic with politicians and supporters of the MDC’s Arthur Mutambara faction jostling for the most eye-catching position on the dance floor.
Observers said the MDC Mutambara weekend congress was more of a music party than a political meeting.
For hours the music was being played with the DJ becoming an important part of the programme. Music helped drown out the numerous voices of dissent that were looking for every opportunity to remind the incoming leader that his elevation was still a contested matter.
There were far much fewer speeches than there were musical moments. One would have expected the better parts of the two day gathering to concentrate on discussing issues affecting the party, charting the way forward and finding solutions. Instead the leadership spent most of their time glued in their chairs at the high table looking down in a bored stupor on the colourful dance moves of their supporters.
The colourfully dressed women danced sele and kongonya dance styles in a desperate bid to show their support for their new President Welshman Ncube.
On the other hand out-going President Arthur Mutambara spent the better part of his time cutting a forlorn figure, occasionally fidgeting. He would however force a smile when a group of party spoilers occasionally waltz in front of him with a red t-shirt emblazoned with his image.
The congress held under the theme “Celebrating Our Diversity,” a euphemism for the party’s national appeal, saw characters such as Moses Mzila, Espath Mhlongwa, Priscilla Misihairambwi, Frank Chamunorwa, former Highlanders Chairman Nhlanhla Dube and Thandi Mlilo competing to outdo each other on the dance floor as they danced along to the high paced music.
Espath Mhlongwa, father to South African based DJ, Oscar Mhlongwa, better known in the showbiz industry as Oskido had to borrow from his son’s talent. He directed musical operations constantly ordering the DJ to play specific musical requests. And one such request was from the new president himself.
The song “Sthwele Kanzima” is a song specially done for Welshman Ncube. It is a song that praises him for his educational achievements and asks him to use these to end the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe. Many in the party regard the song as the party anthem.
Journalists waited for hours for Ncube to deliver his first address as party president. Just as the Master of Ceremony, Mhlongwa tried to restore order to allow Ncube to give his keynote speech, another bay of the City Sports centre populated by women led by Thandi Mlilo burst into song showing their appreciation for their new leader one more time.
While this was happening, the United Family International Church (UFI) led by popular evangelist Pastor Makandiwa, was knocking on the doors of the venue reminding Ncube’s and his followers that the “party” was over and it was time for the house to be used to preach the word of God.