The fact that Military Touch Movement (MTM) continued to survive two years after Andy Muridzo’s abrupt departure — and not its recent dissolution — is apparently the most surprising thing in the goings on in Jah Prayzah’s campaign.
MTM’s “mission” seems to have been achieved in 2018, thus it no longer had any reason to exist after that.
MTM was born in 2017 and originally consisted of Andy Muridzo, ExQ, Tahle Wedzinza, Nutty O and producers DJ Tamuka and Daniel Chiweda.
Many pundits opine that the project was meant to slam the brakes on the then on-fire Andy Muridzo’s career.
It probably explains why the “Dherira” hit-maker regrets ever putting his signature on the dotted line on a contract offered to him by Jah “JP’s” Prayzah’s MTM.
The musician came out of the project worse than he had come in.
When Muridzo released “Pakubuda Kwezuva” and “Ngarizhambe”, he presented himself as a direct rival to JP.
He maintained a hardcore traditional sound that the gangly “Tsotsi” singer was abandoning or has abandoned.
But after being swallowed, he not only lost the fans’ support but was indirectly pushed into adopting the West African flair. Uniformity, he was told, would help form the stable’s identity, which in turn would make it easy for them to attract foreign collaborations.
Every other singer who joined MTM was equally promised a foreign collabo.
However, it was just a pie in the sky.
What was once touted a dream move soon turned out to be a case of what Muridzo and his colleagues termed “trickery, cruelty and deceit”.
“Not a single thing I was promised on the contract has been fulfilled. Actually, Jah Prayzah wants all the good things for himself. He is not willing to assist others and is not a saint as most of you imagine him to be,” charged Muridzo in an exclusive interview with this publication as he left MTM.
Muridzo is still a bitter man, but JP is a happy man.
“When I started MTM, my dream was to have a movement that is driven solely by the ambition of the artistes and producers involved in it. It has been three years since we began the journey and I can say it has been fruitful. We have shared so many joys as a team and joys I will continue to cherish and celebrate,” said JP in a statement.
But was there joy at MTM or was the founder eager to promote budding talent?
It appears the “Kutonga Kwaro” singer’s promises were just hot air.
Also, those who had been conscripted accused the lanky muso of sabotaging their careers.
Picture this, Muridzo’s contract with MTM stated that he was supposed to get help in recording, marketing and distributing albums.
But a couple of months after joining, his third album “Tichambotenderera” album launch at 7 Arts Theatre in Harare was poorly advertised, thus attracting a sparse audience.
Ironically, the launch was dominated by JP’s promotional material.
His previous two album launches had done well.
Similarly, Tahle, Nutty O and Chiweda have unkind words for the movement, though they have often tried to be diplomatic about it.
DJ Tamuka and ExQ were still part of MTM up until it was disbanded, but they had since established a rival movement — Mushroom Media.
Nutty O was last week countered by JP after his management disclosed their intentions to leave the movement.
The chanter’s manager reckons there was no way they were going to realise their dream of growing Nutty O’s brand under JP’s shadow.
There is no doubt that without MTM, Tahle would have taken longer to blossom and the same can be said about Nutty O.
However, theirs are typical so-near-yet-so-far cases. It is something that they realised along the way. Tahle acrimoniously dumped MTM last year.
It is believed that in reality, JP announced the closure of a movement that was long dead.
Some can be tempted to single out ExQ as MTM’s success story. However, the singer is a veteran who could have survived with or without MTM.
From the days of “Musalala”, ExQ knows how to reinvent his career each time it goes south.
Remember, this is the guy who went and pulled a surprise collaboration “Pane Rudo” with the late Dr Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi when many least expected it.
Other MTM members want out but they are afraid to come out in the open. Ours is a case whereby we are locked in a room with trinkets to divert our attention from the bigger goal. We are being controlled so that we do not realise our full potential.
“How do you explain a situation where JP goes on to collaborate with hip-hop artistes when we have ExQ in the team or sets himself a collabo with a reggae artiste, Jah Cure, yet we have Nutty O in the movement?
Would it have not made sense if Yemi Alade collaborated with Tahle, the only female MTM member?” queried Muridzo two years back.
However, JP believes he did his best.
“I feel everyone who was involved in MTM is now in a position where they can now also take part in grooming and raising more talent out there,” he said.
“I have done my part in putting in the little resources I had at that time but do feel the artistes have outgrown the label.”
Most say there was never a genuine intention from JP to either promote the singers or link them with possible foreign collaborations. What MTM was doing is no different from what Suluman Chimbetu does at his Cockpit Studios or Alick Macheso is doing at his Alema Studios.
MTM just offered the musicians recording platforms, at times for free. But it is the project’s pretensions that made it fall foul with those within it.