Ezekiel Mutua Moves to Ban 'Utawezana' After Video Goes Viral

  • Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) chief executive officer Ezekiel Mutua (right) addressing a press conference at KFCB offices in April 2016
    Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) chief executive officer Ezekiel Mutua (right) addressing a press conference at KFCB offices in April 2016
    Daily Nation
  • UPDATE 12.28 PM: Dennis Njenga, Femi One's manager and an executive at her label Kaka Empire, spoke to Kenyans.co.ke stating that while they appreciated Mutua's work, all Femi and Mejja had done is put a smile on the faces of Kenyans and Africans with their chart-topping single.

    Stating that it was purely entertainment, Njenga called for artists to be allowed to thrive in their creativity.

    "We appreciate the work Ezekiel is doing but let artists be creative. Femi One and Mejja have managed to put a smile on  the faces of not only Kenyans but that of East Africans too; considering the Covid-19 situation. This is purely entertainment," he noted in a brief statement.


    Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) Chief Executive Officer Ezekiel Mutua on Monday, April 13 spoke to Kenyans.co.ke revealing plans to ban the hit single 'Utawezana' by Femi One and Mejja after a short video surfaced online in which a child referenced the song's steamy lyrics.

    Released on Wednesday, April 1, the single fast became a viral sensation thanks to social platforms such as Tiktok, and the official music video has since garnered close to 2.5 million views on Youtube.

    The video shared and cited by Mutua, however, is a comedy sketch in which a young girl asks his uncle for help with her homework.

    When the uncle asks what he will get in return, the young child stands up and puts her arms on her waist, before asking the question made popular by the song, "Nikikupea utawezana? If I give it to you will you manage?" leaving the uncle shocked.

    Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) CEO Ezekiel Mutua during a crackdown on public service vehicles in Nairobi on February 4, 2020
    Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) CEO Ezekiel Mutua during a crackdown on public service vehicles in Nairobi on February 4, 2020
    Twitter

    Describing the Utawezana craze as 'immoral foolishness', Mutua further tore into media houses which he accused of promoting indecency and calling it creativity.

    He told Kenyans.co.ke that KFCB had initiated a process that would determine the action to be taken on the song, with a potential media ban looming.

    "It's a legal process. So already we have engaged the Broadcast Monitoring Unit (BMU) because there are various parameters that determine the action to be taken; for example foul language and nudity.

    "Depending on what we establish, we will restrict it from being played on media stations or enter conversations with Google to have it pulled down from platforms like Youtube," he disclosed.

    Mutua blasted the song's creators, Mejja and Femi One for lacking creativity as he insisted that the song's newfound popularity was due to its use of sexual messages.

    "The original song is obscene, there is nothing palatable. There is no creativity there, it does not have to be dirty. That popularity is short-lived popularity. Creativity is giving people hope, and while comic relief should be there, it should not be dirty.

    "It is a shame to see people circulating it and quoting it. The creators of that song are perverts, they are simply using sex to sell the song. People should be worried," he stated.

    Mutua revealed his fear that as Kenyans continued to normalize raunchy songs, children would imitate them and what they see and hear in music videos.

    "The work of art is to build societies, to inspire hope at a time like this when we are dealing with a pandemic. However, people are so obsessed with sex and immorality in their dirty minds, we are normalizing this and it has to be condemned.

    "Why can't they give us clean content? Why can't they give us music we can listen to with our families? When you start normalizing these things, children easily pick them up and that is very dangerous.

    "The child in the video I shared for example, that was choreographed, it was an act. She is being used to normalize this Utawezana nonsense and it is wrong. But children imitate these things every day," he asserted.

    Mutua also slammed media houses which he accused of promoting indecency and calling it creativity.

    "Creativity does not mean dirty, sexual content. For example, I watch Henry Desagu's comedy, it is very funny and it is not dirty.

    "It's worse when mainstream media begins to glorify such dirty content by giving the creators airtime on TV and radio," he told this writer.

    On Facebook, Mutua called for the arrest of the person who filmed the video featuring a minor.

    "That's not creativity. It's immoral foolishness that only appeals to perverts and unless we condemn it, many innocent kids will do this thinking it's a fashionable and honourable thing!" he wrote.

    The 'moral police', who in recent years has made headlines on several occasions for banning songs and movies deemed inappropriate, was backed by a section of Kenyans who agreed with his sentiments.

    "Dr Ezekiel Mutua you should have taken action against those who produced this music. The video and the message is not appealing for the young generation. Kids are quick to imitate. What morals are we teaching our young children if a country can allow such music to be recorded and played," responded Justone Kagoni.

    Several others, however, urged Mutua not to take action against creators of the comedy sketch video or the original's song's creators.

    He was also criticized for sharing the offending video on his own pages.

    Efforts by Kenyans.co.ke to reach Femi One's representatives remained futile as we were yet to get a response from her label, Kaka Empire.

    The single Utawezana inspired the #UtawezanaChallenge which particularly blew up on Tiktok, with Kenyans recording themselves singing and dancing along to the song.

    Notably, a journalism student by the name Azziad Nasenya emerged as the undisputed star of the challenge with her videos going viral.

    Her newfound fame earned her thousands of new online followers and saw her invited to various media houses including Citizen, NTV and KTN to take part in various shows.

    File photo of actress and content creator Azziad Nasenya.
    File photo of actress and content creator Azziad Nasenya.
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