Former Zambia Association President and Regea sensational has some few concerns to addresss to the Republican President in Regard to the Music Industry. Below is his open letter posted on Facebook;
ATTENTION: THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA,
MR EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU
Dear Mr President,
RE: PLIGHT OF THE ZAMBIAN ARTISTES
Let me start by apologising for not having been able to raise the K5,000 for a ticket to meet you at the “Meet The President” event. I would have really loved to meet you and express one or two concerns regarding the aforementioned subject matter. Going by the news feeds on social media, I understand it was a great event and I’m glad that the drivers of your show were people from my field of work – The Creative Industries.
I must also apologise too for addressing you via social media Sir but I understand news gets to you quicker via such platforms as opposed to the formal manner which you will agree is full of road blocks.
I do not wish to discuss politics or elections with you Sir but rather a few issues to do with the Arts and the welfare of Artistes in Zambia, which I’m also assuming and hoping that some of the great artistes who have the privilege of interacting with you might have already brought to your attention.
Sir, are you aware that the vast majority of artistes in this country (including some that campaigned for you) live in poverty despite working so hard to produce and deliver artistic services to the nation? This is largely due to the unfavourable environment which seems to go unchecked by the powers that be. The situation hasn’t been made better by our Ministry of Tourism and Arts whose relevance to the promotion of the Arts remains vague to a point where even ZNBC news often refers to our ministry as just ‘Ministry of Tourism’ (without Arts). This says a lot as to how the arts are still regarded as a by the way at national level. This also has a bearing on the budgetory allocation to the sector.
Has your (our) government any plans of turning this sector into a formal economic sector where artistes will be recognised as part of the country’s labour force? Have you considered creation of space for artistes in your good plans for infrastructure development? Have you any plans of building capacity of these artistes to ensure that they produce world class products and services for the benefit of the nation at large? Have you considered formulation of policies that will ably guide the creative industry to greater economic heights and halt the exploitation of artistes?
Sir, I have heard you mention on at least two occasions in your address to Parliament how your (our) government intends to revise our National Arts Council Act and revamp the NAC itself, is this already underway or do we have to wait for the next President to actualised this?
Are you aware that the levels of music and video piracy in the country have gone from bad to worse despite the introduction of the much publicised Hologram which has proved to be a tool for double taxation on artistes? Are you aware Sir that today you can buy pirated music and videos right In front of the Lusaka Central Police Station and at as low as K2 per copy? Are you aware of the high cost of importation of arts equipment and how difficult it is for an ordinary artist to survive in Zambia? Here I don’t mean the privileged few who are able to match your elegant fashion but groups like Mashombe Blue Jeans, and the like. Mr President, have you ever thought of inviting investors to invest in the Creative Sector as you have done in mining, agriculture, manifucturing, and other sectors?
Artistes have played their role in advocacy, mass mobilisation and indeed in the preservation and promotion of our cultural heritage and our tourism, let alone in uniting the nation in times of joy and sorrow and my humble appeal is for your administration to consider the plight of these youth, men and women who have carried the national flag with patriotism by investing in the arts which can be a significant contributor to the 200,000 jobs you intend to create annually.
We have already come this far as artistes through our own Individual efforts and my request is that we need to share the national cake to which we are contributing albeit informally and I know that with your support in the creation of an enabling environment, we will not have to beg for alms from anyone and we can be a major economic factor in national development. We can make it better for the many budding artistes countrywide.
Finally I look forward to a more affordable ‘Meet the President” event preferably in Jack compound, Kabwata Community Hall or even Chikuni Village.
I thank you sincerely