Zimbabwe: Police Ban Doctors From Singing Popular 'Masaskam' Song

5 December 2019

Anti-riot police Wednesday ordered protesting doctors to stop singing the popular "MaSaskam" song that is often sung in defiance of President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government by opposition and civil society activists during protests.

This was when hundreds of public hospital doctors marched to parliament building in Harare to petition the legislative house over their own plight and the deteriorating health delivery system in the country.

The song refers to those in power as imbeciles and is usually sung to in reference to unpopular decisions taken by authorities.

It is popular with anti-government protesters who would be referring to anti-riot police officers during demonstrations and marches.

"Atidi zvekupiwa order nema Saskam, Order, order, atidi zvekupiwa order nemaSaskam," goes the song.

Usually where the song has been sung, protesters have been beaten by officers.

However, the doctors, who have been at loggerheads with government over poor wages, were forced to come up with other songs.

"Police told us to sing anything else not "Hatidi zvekupiwa order nema Sakam," Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) secretary general Tawanda Zvakada told the media during the protest.

As part of their grievances, the medical practitioners want government to revert back to the payment of their wages in US dollars or maintain their wages in local currency but pegged at the prevailing interbank rates.

Government has adamantly declined both demands.

The doctors had a song for such intransigence.

"Murungu wamakandipa ini anopakura zvisiri fair, akati USA, USA oti kwangu maBond," they sang in reference to government's reported abuse of the US dollar and its stubborn stance to pay them in a valueless local bond note currency.

The march by doctors was accompanied by police.

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