Kenyan musicians led by veteran gospel singer Roysmith Mwatia aka Rufftone are pleading with government through the Ministry of Sports and Arts to chip in and address the challenges facing the ailing sector.
The artists held a press conference at the Kenya National Theatre (KNT) Tuesday, where they raised a number of issues affecting the veteran and upcoming artistes at work.
The team, while appreciating President William Ruto for appointing Ababu Namwamba to head Sports and Arts docket, said they have suffered for long and are now placing their hopes to Kenya Kwanza government to invest and develop workable policies to address challenges derailing creative industry.
Rufftone said he has confidence that CS Namwamba will work with musicians and other stakeholders to ensure that the challenges are solved.
Among the petitions made to the government is the streamlining of the collective management organizations (CMOs), with Rufftone acknowledging that the CS has already began working on the issue.
“We are aware that the CS has already began consultations on how to streamline the operations of Collective Management Organisations (CMO) within the music industry. This has been a long running challenge for musicians and until now, no sufficient government attention had been realized. Thank you, Mr. President, and Kenya Kwanza government, for turning your attention to the matter of CMOs,” Rufftone said.
The other appeal made was unlocking Sh92 billion per year, or Sh252 million per day from illegitimate Websites into the legitimate Business of the Creative Industry.
The artistes further asked government to directly create over 50,000 professional Jobs for the youth, which will enable them support their families and communities.
Rufftone also pointed out the issue of piracy as another challenge affecting upcoming artistes and asked the government to continuously fast-track the mandatory Blocking of Copyright-infringing Domains and Re-direction to Legitimate Websites, by all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as per Section 35 in the Copyright Act.
For the government to attract local and international Investment to Creative Industry, Rufftone said that there is need to economically empower artistes to create more quality content, which can compete with Nigeria and South Africa on a global stage.
They urged the media to be on the frontline by playing Kenyan content as well as vouching for Kenyan artistes while also requesting for use of 75% local content in advertising including jingles, Signature Tunes and Production Music.
“We are aware that some of the things we are asking for may require an amendment to the law and for that we assure the CS that we will mobilise our fellow musicians to ensure we realise the dream together for the benefit of all of us,” added Rufftone.
Other Kenyan artists’ present included singer Nameless, Avril, Mbuvi, Wyre and Ringtone among others.
By Ian Chepkuto and Naftal Omanga