A section of Kenyan artistes on Tuesday, June 30 appealed to President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene over the Ksh100 million economic stimulus program he announced to cushion artistes during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Artistes including musicians and comedians had been asked to submit their content and details on a web portal by the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage to be considered for the program.
Independent investigations by Kenyans.co.ke revealed that while several artists had received varying payments after making submissions on the portal, others were yet to be paid despite their submissions being acknowledged as meeting the criteria.
Conversations with Japheth Kasanga, Chairman of the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) further revealed artists' fears on the handling of the process by the Ministry.President Uhuru Kenyatta speaking at State House, Nairobi during a webinar hosted by the Atlantic Council on June 18, 2020.
Kasanga explained that when President Uhuru Kenyatta first made the announcement, they expected that Collective Management Organizations (CMOs) would be involved in the process as they were the only organizations with existing structures and data.
Their expectations were that registered members of MCSK, Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRISK) and Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP) would be the main beneficiaries of the project.
He noted that once the Ministry took up the program, they were sidelined and the idea of only supporting artists who submit content through the portal emerged.
"I cannot speak on the management of the process because the CMOs are not a part of it. We had raised this issue earlier.
"When the President announced it we understood that the CMOs were to be part of the process because we have the structures for it. But the Ministry had other ideas and that's when they introduced the scheme where artists work to benefit from the program by submitting their content.
"We have not received or distributed anything from the stimulus program," he disclosed.
Kasanga further revealed that he had been informed that teams attached to the program were traversing the counties.
"I've been made aware that they're travelling through the various counties. I don't know if the intention is to create competition among artists or what," he noted.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed's office was yet to respond to queries made by Kenyans.co.ke by the time of publication.
"We would like to assure industry practitioners and the general public of that the selection process will be fair, transparent and accountable in the selection of content providers and distribution of funds," a statement on the submissions portal reads in part.
Various artists, however, rallied together demanding answers and called for the President to step in to ensure Kenyan artistes gain from his initiative.
Among them was Kamba gospel singer Joel Mutiso whose passionate appeal to Uhuru was widely shared on social media platforms.
"I want to know where the money the President gave to artists went because we didn't get it and we haven't been told who did or where it went.
"Mr. President, No one wants to talk about it, no one is telling us where our money is so today we want to know," he stated.
Watch Mutiso's video below:
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