Trust launches 2018 Arts-Vote Campaign

HARARE – Bulawayo’s Nhimbe Trust’s mission in the run-up to the 2018 general election will mobilise and encourage artistes to register to vote.

The trust is running a campaign under the banner “2018 Arts-Vote Campaign”.

Josh Nyapimbi, Nhimbe Trust’s executive director said the Arts-Vote Campaign seeks to engage and build political power for creatives who constitute a significant number of potential voters in Zimbabwe.

He said their aim is to mobilise artistes to secure buy-in from aspiring 2018 election candidates, if elected; to ensure public policies that recognise, enhance and foster the contribution that the creative industry makes to the socio-economic development of Zimbabwe.

“The short-term goals of the 2018 Arts-Vote include three specific asks to artistes and these include registering, having the necessary documents and knowing the aspiring candidates.”

“The 2018 Arts-Vote Campaign will mainly use social media as an advocacy tool.

“Creatives will be encouraged to sign up to the campaign and mainstream it in their work. The is dedicated to building the political power of creatives, by engaging them in the electoral process, urging politicians to pay attention to issues that matter to the creative industry, and exercising their fundamental right to vote.

“Our goal is to enhance our country’s democracy in transition and redefine citizenship for a generation in 2018 and beyond.”

Meanwhile coordinators of 2018 Arts-Vote Campaign have issued a statement on the ruling Zanu PF party’s attack on Zimdancehall musician Soul Jah Love.

The ruling party’s secretary for youth commissariat, Innocent Hamandishe, attacked Soul Jah Love, for alleged indiscipline during President Robert Mugabe’s Meet the Youth rally held on  June 16 in Sakubva, Mutare.

The musician was billed to perform as part of the entertainment for the youth event.

Hamandishe went ballistic when he referred to the musician as being of no value and that he could be stopped from performing at the event.

The event was broadcast live on the state broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.

“2018 Arts-Vote believes that the ruling party went beyond justifiable and acceptable levels in the quest to communicate with an artiste who was performing according to his contractual obligations.

“The language used by the youth league secretary was demeaning and threatening and bordered on putting the life of the artiste at risk of being attacked by party supporters.

“As the ruling party had hired the services of the musician, the relationship should have been guided by professional conduct, since the relationship is not one of slave-master.”

Nyapimbi said the ruling party’s views on any issue should be scrutinised due to the way the party conflates its party activities with that of the government and State.

“We therefore call upon the ruling party to take a stand and apologise to the musician and the nation at large for this show of disdain, which reflects on all artistes.

“As noted previously, the government has done very little towards the professionalism of the arts industry.

“The outburst by Hamandishe, in belittling the contemporary musician, exposes the government’s mind-set and the lack of progress in the professionalisation of the industry.

“Zimbabwe has generally relegated the arts industry to being a hobby industry. There is therefore need for the government to give the industry a professional form through defining the boundaries, standards and ethical codes.

“This is achieved through the institutionalisation of the industry, which will anchor the industry according to sector specific boundaries.

This will, in the long-term, enhance the skills and knowledge development process for the industry”

Nyapimbi said by doing so, it will further strengthen the way artistes are engaged on a professional basis as they contribute to the national economic performance since they pay taxes and part of the taxes go back to the industry to further consolidate its competitiveness.

“However, with the mind-set that was demonstrated at the rally, it is anathema to think that the party that holds artistes in such low regard can take a lead role in stimulating policy interventions that strengthen industry performance post 2018.

“2018 Arts-Vote remains steadfast and calls upon the political parties in general to reign in their structures and ensure that the safety of artistes is of paramount importance, especially as the country moves towards the impending general elections.

“We call upon the government and the police to be on high alert and enforce the laws that protect artistes, particularly during Mugabe’s youth rallies planned throughout the country,” said Nyapimbi.

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