Bongo Flava sensation Diamond Platnumz has launched a stinging attack on the Tanzanian government for always treating him like a villain despite being one of the top taxpayers in the country’s entertainment industry.
The singer, who is currently on a media tour in his country to publicize his latest release, an EP, dubbed FOA (First of All), claims the artists under his Wasafi record label have always been humiliated and treated unfairly by the government of the day.
Speaking on The Switch show that airs on Wasafi FM, where the crooner is a major shareholder, Diamond claimed he can never leave the country freely like other artists.
At least not without the approval of the state agency in charge of music and arts BASATA.
“I think it’s only artists signed to Wasafi who are never allowed to leave the country without the government’s approval. Anytime I get to the airport, I’m always arrested and stopped from boarding. I don’t know why they keep doing this to me,” he told radio presenter Lily Ommy.
He added: “Whenever I ask for the reason, I’m always told I must have a permit from the government before I can leave the country,
To obtain the approval, Diamond says he is always forced to part away with Tsh 50,000 for the permit every single time he sets to jet out of the country.
He further claimed that even when he is traveling on personal business like going to see his two kids who live in South Africa, he has to get the permit
In a rejoinder, BASATA through its acting CEO, Matiko Muniko denied Diamond’s claims insisting there can never be a specific law for an individual citizen.
“The law is very clear to every artist whenever one wants to travel outside the country for any art related gig. They have to obtain a permit from BASATA where one has to pay Tsh50,000” Muniko told Mwananchi.
Diamond remarks came after the presenter sought to know why his name and those of his signees were not among the artistes who were paid royalties by the Copyright Society of Tanzania (COSATA) in January this year where his nemesis Alikiba was among the top earners.
When COSATA was questioned as to why all of Wasafi artistes missed out, the body said they hadn’t registered with it.
“So, when you tell me we are not registered yet we are paying for the government’s permit to leave the country, it doesn’t make sense to me. I commend President Samia Suluhu for this initiative, but I have a feeling those tasked with executing the mandate have failed,” he said.
The Bongo artiste added, “If you are talking about being registered by the government in any manner, then all Wasafi artistes and the label itself are. We fully registered in all those bodies COSATA, BASATA and TRA (Tanzania Revenue Authority).”
He said that despite his entire missing out on the royalties, he did not want to focus too much on the matter insisting the royalty list didn’t make any sense.
“Maybe the system is not well developed because if you look at the list it wasn’t making any sense. If they said we are not registered and even if we are, we are only being played at our stations, then why did an artiste like Mario who is played in almost every media miss out on the top 10 list. There were artiste on the top 10 who honestly didn’t come any close to what Mario has produced but were on the list”
Diamond went on to state that because of the mistreatment Wasafi has been receiving from the government agencies, he does not wish to be considered for any awards, launched by COSATA.
“I am not interested on the newly launched awards. I mean if you couldn’t pay me royalties, how would you then nominate me for an award? It does not make sense. I believe it’s good for other Tanzanian artists, but it’s not a priority for me. My focus is to compete with artistes outside Tanzania,” he said.