The Sunday Mail
NINE years ago, on October 14 to be precise, the late Tongai “Dhewa” Moyo was restless on his deathbed.
What bothered him more was not his seemingly failing health, but the future of his beloved Utakataka Express.
Dhewa, or Igwe as he was affectionately known, had grudgingly come to terms with the fact that his time and number was up.
However, one could easily see that he felt he had some unfinished business.
“I should have taught him early (Peter, his eldest son). I do not think he will last. This industry is full of ruthless people. Besides, he is not much into music. I just wish Joe (Munyebvu) and other promoters that have helped me with this cancer battle can assist him find his footing,” agonised a distraught Dhewa on the eve of his demise.
As he poured out his heart on his deathbed at St Anne’s Hospital, his wife Miniehle Mukweli, confidantes Pedro Phiri, Barmet Mutosvori, chanter Gift “Shiga” Katulika and Joe “Promotions” Munyebvu were by his side.
That he doubted Peter (31) as heir to the Utakataka Express throne was an open secret, yet he still hoped for the best.
Dhewa had five other children, but the “Barika Ihondo” singer never, at least in this writer’s presence, talked about any of them taking over his band.
In fact, all he ever did in his last days was to discuss the best possible way to fast-track Peter’s mastering of the art of music.
Well, maybe this is because at that time, his other older male offspring, Obert Tongai Jnr, was just 11 years old.
Nyasha — Peter’s younger sister who, however, was older than Obert — was never considered an option to lead the band by her father.
Now, close to a decade later, Dhewa’s fears have been partly allayed.
Peter has managed to keep Utakataka Express afloat.
Yes, he has his shortcomings insofar as music and band management is concerned, but like his late father would say, “so far so good”.
That said, Igwe is probably turning in his grave over what he couldn’t possibly have envisioned.
The feud between Peter and his younger brother Obert Tongai Jnr might appear superficial, but it is actually really bad.
Those who have listened to Obert’s singles “Dhewa Vedu” (featuring Brian Samaita), “Dzinza Rinokosha” (featuring Ronnie Mudhindo) and the latest offering “Cain and Abel” would probably understand the extent of the animosity.
The feud between the Moyo siblings is not only threatening to split Utakataka Express, but the music industry as well.
Some of Peter Moyo’s band members have already shown keen interest in joining Obert’s group.
In fact, some of Peter’s band members have played active roles in Obert’s studio projects as well as live gigs.
Promoters are similarly split.
For all we know, Dhewa loved his family and always promoted the virtues and value of unity, even on his deathbed.
Certainly, he couldn’t have stomached such a nasty fallout between his sons.
Fans are also split.
While some propose that they unite, others feel the rivalry will engender a healthy rivalry for their music to thrive.
However, the million-dollar question though is: How would Igwe have handled this if he was still around?
It seems Peter and Obert not only have different mothers but different ideologies.