Musicians storm Parly

HARARE - Zimbabwe Parliament will this term have three musicians who won seats in their respective constituencies at the just concluded 2018 harmonised elections.

The three — Elias Musakwa, Energy Mutodi and Joshua Sacco — are all representing the ruling Zanu PF.

The Daily News on Sunday caught up with their fellow artistes who were hopeful that the three will be able to push the arts sector agenda while other were skeptical that they would represent their interests since they have constituencies to run and stand up for.

Playwright and actor Silvanos Mudzvova said he would want to congratulate fellow artists for winning.

“It’s a good sign for artists and the sector as a whole. However, I am not optimistic about anything or major changes because these three MPs.

“Sacco has been in Parliament before and he didn’t even raise a single motion about artists. First we should start lobbying Parliament to put these artists in parliament portfolio committee for arts and culture.

“I believe as artists we should pushing Mutodi and Musakwa so that they can lobby on our behalf not wait for them.

“It’s how much noise we make as artists that can push them in Parliament to ask questions and demand answers from responsible ministry.

“If artists are lucky maybe Mutodi or Musakwa can be appointed ministers responsible arts,” said Mudzvova.

Arts practitioner Clayton Ndlovu said: “First of all, I would like to congratulate all the winners of these harmonised elections and to those who did not make it, I say do not be demoralised. Pick yourself up and soldier on working to improve Zimbabwe.”

Ndlovu said his opinion is that these musicians were not voted for by musicians but by people who want and are expecting a huge change towards development of their constituencies and the country.

“So my advice to them is that they need to work hard. They need to hit the ground running and work for the people.

“However since they are artists, they can also take advantage and find out from the artists what is it that they think MPs need to do in the arts fraternity.

“One thing for sure is that they should push for policies that may bring the change that is needed to develop the creative industries particularly the idea of government offering tax rebates for the private sector who may fund the arts.

“More importantly they must push the government to also look at their funding policy towards the creative industries.

“I wish them good luck and that they should always work for the people not only their pockets. They must prove that artists can work hard as anyone else,” said Ndlovu.

Singer Josh Meck said: “I think they should push for fair performance compensation between international artists and local artists.

“Promoters have been paying huge amounts to foreign acts yet the locals are the ones that come up on top at the end of the day.”

Singing sensation Cindy Munyavi said: “They should push for the effective application of legislation that curbs piracy. Music should not be found mu road at no benefit to the artist.

“The government needs to avail funding to assist the arts industry to take form because we don’t have an industry to begin with but I am sure if we had structures we would contribute significantly to the nation’s coffers.”

Singer Nyasha Chingono said: “I think our music industry is lagging behind in terms of promoters who can invest in the art. So they could start by pushing for legislation that makes it mandatory for government to spend a certain portion of the annual budget on the arts, especially music.

“There is also need to spearhead the commercialisation of music through promoters and fight piracy which has crippled many artists.

“They have done, especially Musakwa who owned several recording labels, I’m sure his experience will come in handy in Zimbabwean music.”

Arts practitioner Benjamin Nyandoro: “They being also musicians is an added advantage, but I believe they primarily represent their constituencies. With that bias, they should push for enforcement of laws against piracy and improving allocation for arts and culture.”

Guitarist Pablo Nakappa said hopefully they will remember the struggles that musicians face and help change that.

“But knowing musicians, the moment they are in higher places they forget that they were once struggling. I do hope they will work with the Zimbabwe Musicians Union to tackle some of the problems musicians are facing.

“On the top list accommodation, issues of piracy, royalties, and also to fight for fairness in terms of what promoters pay local artists when they are supporting acts to visiting artists. Also, I hope they will lobby for 100 percent airplay for local music,” said Nakappa.

Poet Chirikure Chirkure said: “I am not sure if we have to expect anything from them as the arts sector. They didn’t run on arts tickets. I’m sure they will naturally focus on their political mandates.

“After all they haven’t been involved in any arts and culture dialogue, if my memory saves me right.”

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