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Government moves to regulate entertainers

Bobi Wine, sings on stage in Busabala, on November 10, 2018. Thousands of Ugandans thronged a lakeside recreation ground to attend the long awaited first music concert of the politician after previous attempts were blocked by the Ugandan police

Government through the Ministry of Gender is moving to have entertainers regulated.

In a consultative meeting that was attended by artists and different stakeholders, it was noted that over the years, the industry has developed, created different opportunities but is unfortunately not regulated.

“The industry is operating on regulations that were made in 1943, yet, new things have come and need regulations,” said Peace Mutuuzo, State Minister for Gender and Culture at the ministry offices in Kampala on Tuesday evening.

The minister said that setting regulations is their way of streamlining the industry and thus make it favorable for all artistes especially the raising talents that cannot compete favorably in the current situation.

“The industry has not been fair to artistes that are starting out, people have been exploited by promoters and on the other hand the audience has been exploited by performers that fail to show up for concerts after taking money,” she said.

The regulations presented by Juliana Naumo, Commissioner Culture and Family Affairs at the ministry looked at setting minimum standards for all stakeholders.

Some of the regulations include an introduction of a license that will be issued by the ministry to all artistes, film makers and theatre practitioners that ought to stage or perform in public places in and outside Uganda.

According to the document seen by Sqoop, artistes will have to sign a code of conduct that prohibits consumption of intoxicants before a performance, indecent dressing and above it all, having only a performance per day.

“Artistes have had tendencies of double booking themselves in different places and with such regulations, people do not have to be worried about artistes not showing up,” Naumo said.

Some regulations go directly on the creative process and much as some people appreciated them, they still felt the government can still twist them to their advantage, for instance, both the minister and commissioner could not define what vulgar exactly means.

“Who knows an artiste will lose a license for ‘vulgar’ lyrics that criticize the government,” noted one of the artistes in attendance.

Even when the regulations are yet to be confirmed, artistes expressed their worries about the timing considering the fact that at the time, art and politics have had more than a single meeting point.

Yusuf Kaija, a stage and film actor for instance said it was worrying that for years, the government has not given back or supported the art industry in any way and yet, after they have noticed the impact the industry has on the society, they feel the need to have it regulated.

“Why are you coming to us now? Why is this so important now?”

During the festive season, artiste-cum-legislator Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine faced it rough when he had many of his shows including that of Boxing Day cancelled under unclear circumstances.

But even when the police constantly told press that the concerts were stopped because of unfulfilled requirements, the public and a section of fellow artistes believed the reasons were politically motivated, that, on Tuesday, it was not very surprising when the artistes around grew suspicious of the ministry.

They had started off by refusing to sign the attendance form claiming that the ministry would use it against them to indicate that all attendees accepted the regulations.

“There is a lot of suspicion but we are only trying to regulate and make the industry better,” said the minister adding that the process of creating these regulations was started in 2005.

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