Aug 1, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

MPs want Sh500 million Uhuru kitty for artists

The lawmakers now want President Kenyatta to issue another Sh500 million to the artists through the offices of MPs as opposed to the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage.

They are also pushing the Head of State to consider reopening entertainment joints, saying artists have become beggars and idlers due to the current containment measures imposed on clubs and events.

MPs said musicians in their respective constituencies have been asking them about the money issued by the President.

Issuing a report on how the money was shared out, the chairman of National Assembly’s Sports and Culture Committee, Patrick Makau, said some of the funds were given to the National Museums of Kenya and the Kenya Cultural Centre while some remained at the ministry and was used for messaging.

Mr Makau said the ministry had told the committee that the eligibility criteria were that applicants must be Kenyans, provide a profile with proof of their artistic work for the previous six months and must have not been beneficiaries of the Covid-19 funding released by the government

However, lawmakers dismissed the report issued by the ministry, saying officials did not get in touch with them so that the money could be channelled to its intended beneficiaries.

Gatanga MP Joseph Nduati said his constituency has produced renowned artists but none of them received any of the Sh100 million.

“I can tell his House confidently that the artists in my area got nothing despite producing well-known artists in this country. It is my plea that even as we observe Covid-19 protocols, there is a need to accommodate artists so that they can continue earning their income,” Mr Nduati said.

Kilifi North MP Owen Baya decried that places like Watamc region, have become ghost towns because of the strict Covid-19 protocols imposed by the government.

“I want to urge the government to open the counties not worst affected by coronavirus. Towns like Malindi and Watamu are completely dead and people have nothing to do and have nothing to eat,” Mr Baya said.

“The Sh100 million created a lot of excitement but nothing got to the ground. Artists in my area got nothing.”

Samburu West MP Naisula Lesuuda said artists from her constituency were sidelined as only one benefited though she had provided a list of musicians affected by Covid-19 to the ministry.

“Looking at the list of beneficiaries, there is only one Samburu. There is a list that the artists gave me and the minister. In this country there is also a stereotype,” Ms Lesuuda said.

List of beneficiaries

Nominated MP David Sankok pointed out that for the effect of the money to be felt, the President should now channel another Sh500 million but this time through the offices of MPs, who he claimed know every needy person in their constituencies.

Mandera East MP Adan Haji said that in his constituency, no artists benefited from the Sh100 million.

“The ministry should endeavour to look at the list of beneficiaries again so that it reflects the face of Kenya. Does it mean that this side of Kenya (Mandera East) has no artists?” he posed.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi urged MPs to also chip in through the Constituency Development Fund and assist the national government in alleviating the suffering of the artists.

In April last year, President Kenyatta directed the ministry of Sports to set aside Sh100 million to cushion artists from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic

Since the closure of churches and other entertainment joints that brought their performances to a halt, the artists lamented that making a living had become a daunting task.

They decried that the government’s order against large gatherings to control the spread of Covid-19 further limited their entertainment activities.

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