We benefit nothing from Ministry of Arts, musicians shame ministers

Zambian artists have demanded that government should hand over some of the buildings bought through proceeds of corruption to them so that they can establish a music school.

Speaking when hundreds of artists gathered during the funeral service for Brian Chilala held at the Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Lusaka, Thursday, former Zambia Association of Musicians (ZAM) Maiko Zulu argued that government had failed to recognise artists in Zambia.

Zulu, the reggae star and human rights activist, accused government of getting funds from donors in the name of art, but failed to revamp the arts sector, which he said had remained poor.

“Arts sector is not receiving a fair share deal of this pie called Zambia. We have Ministry of Tourism and Arts, but if we ask any actor here, we are not benefiting from this institution! They are getting funding in the name of arts and yet we have remained poor! You should be ashamed of yourselves and I will not apologize! I will look into your eyes (as he pointed at Justice Minister Given Lubinda, Sports Minister Moses Mawere and Lands Minister Jean Kapata) and tell you that give us the share that we are contributing in this nation. Get some of the buildings that are proceeds of corruption and give us so that we can turn them into music school,” Zulu demanded.

He further expressed sadness that government did not give Chilala, a man that contributed heavily in the arts sector in the nation and employed a number of young people, national mourning privilege.

“The man we are mourning and putting to rest today contributed heavily in the music sector of this nation and the sad part is that this government has failed to just give him a national mourning. We demand the respect to be given to artists in this nation because we contribute heavily. It is a shame that we had to plead for a place where to mourn our dear friend! This is very sad and I want to announce now that as Zambian musicians, we are declaring that today is a national mourning of our late brother. We want you government to ask how we artists in this country survive? We are very upset with you, government,” Zulu said, as mourners applauded in agreement.

And Kapata pledged that a piece of land would be given to artists in the country to be used as auditorium.

“I want to thank Michael Zulu for the speech, and as government, I must say we have heard that you are not getting the fair share of the cake of this nation and for this through my President, I would like to pledge a piece of land, which should be used as an auditorium. And I am asking the ZAM president to write to my Ministry so that the land can be released,” Kapata said.

The veteran kalindula legend died on February 10 in a road traffic accident, which happened on Lusaka’s Lumumba Road.

Among government officials in addition to Lubinda, Kapata and Mawere who attended the service were Higher Education Minister Prof Nkandu Luo and Southern Province Minister Edify Hamukale.

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