Renowned musician Brian Bweembya, popularly known as B’Flow, says the growing tendency by artists to sing praise songs for politicians when there are so many things affecting voiceless Zambians, is weakening the music industry.

Bweembya, who promotes women’s rights in his music, said the local music industry, if allowed to continue in this path, would begin to be controlled by political systems and in-turn be compromised.

Reacting to a recent song by JK, Chester, Wille, and Kayombo titled “Chitotela Acquittal” praising Tourism Minister Ronald Chitotela for his court acquittal on Hot FM breakfast show, Wednesday, Bweembya argued that singing for politicians after a campaign period was “politics of the belly.”

“My point is there are certain incidents where when other new artists are coming in on the scene, they will begin to believe that the way senior artists are handling their business is the way to go. So, what I mean by weakening [the music industry] is we are getting to a point where the music industry can no longer be controlled by artists themselves, but is going to be controlled by political systems, which is going to compromise our work as artists because artists are supposed to be social commentators and people that stand with the ordinary Zambian who needs a voice there. There are so many things happening in our country. Look at the price of mealie-meal, look at the issues that we have discussed and debated on in the recent past like the US $42 million fire trucks and many other problems that we have faced as a country,” Bweembya said.

He stressed that there were so many issues affecting common voices, which musicians should raise in their music.

“It is artists that are supposed to speak out and give a voice to the people that can’t speak because we have the platform; we have the music; we have the sound and the following, but unfortunately, the artists seem to be on a side where all they are doing is praising the political leaders and not speaking for the people out there! In the process, the industry is becoming very weak because the artists that are trying to do things, which relate to siding with the people or speaking for the people, can’t be listened to anymore because there is an influx of music that’s all of praising politicians and political parties,” he said.

When asked where he got the idea that artists should only be confined to social issues, Bweembya said he was expressing his opinion based on values.

“I do not get the idea [to think like this] from anyone and I know it’s not enshrined or written in any our laws as such, but it’s an opinion just like many other people have given their opinions and they believe that ‘oh, that is how people survive and that is how it should be.’ I really don’t have a problem with artists campaigning or being aligned to a particular party. We all have our beliefs and standpoints, but my point is it shouldn’t be exaggerated. At the pace we are moving now; I think it’s more than just campaigning because now we are hearing songs that just have to praise anything to do with individual politicians and not just political parties. So, when it gets to that I think that our industry is not looking very good at the moment. They can do that, but my opinion is that is weakening us and it’s the truth,” he replied.

And Bweembya said musicians campaigning for politicians after the election campaign period were merely promoting “politics of the belly.”

“Artists during or before elections do go out there in the field and they campaign for political parties and that’s fine because they have a following and they also they agree with the ideologies of a given political party and they campaign for political leaders. But after elections, if we continue singing songs of praise for politicians then I just think that now we are overdoing it or we are doing politics of the belly. It’s getting out of hand,” said Bweembya.