KAMPALA – The speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga has pledged to help artists sort out their concerns about the recently passed laws regulating the arts industry.
The speaker made the promise at parliament while meeting a group of artistes who had come to seek guidance and help for their industry led by Ykee Benda, the acting president of their umbrella organisation Uganda Musicians Association (UMA).
According to Kadaga, One year ago a group of artists met her at parliament and complained to her that the commission of the Copyright Act had never been in place.
“I told them I wrote to the then Minister of Justice Hon Kahinda Otafire and he did not respond to me but the matter was still ongoing. I also told them that UCC brought lots of regulations and we had not yet looked into them,” she said.
The speaker further noted that she has been watching the news but I had not focussed much on why artists are complaining.
“I am now going to write to the president and tell him it’s now time we get a Ministry for the entertainment sector because they do not have a representative and even when they get a problem no one can table it in parliament,” she said.
The speaker confessed that she has come to realise that the Uganda creative industry is a robust one that has all sorts of interesting things that people have not explored.
“The lock down helped me, I sat home and watched the content from the industry, I like you people a lot and I am going to call you here one of these days we laugh a bit. I am going to also lodge your complaint in my ICT committee so that they are called to talk more about this issue and also tell the UCC that the laws are still bothering the artists to understand. I have said it countless times on the floor of parliament and I think the uncertainties in the law should be cleared out,”Kadaga explained.
Ykee benda thanked the speaker for the promise and hearing them out on their plea when no one else did.
“We thank the speaker that she has showed that she cares about our industry and these laws they want to enact are not good. I am glad she has given us the attention and she is going to present our issues to the president and also on the floor of parliament.”
According to Hon Judith Nabakooba the ICT Minister these laws were concluded last year 2019 and were taken to parliament in May 2020.
“We wanted to do it at the start of the year but Covid came. All we needed to do was to lay the regulations in parliament. Parliament gives people 30 days to complain and when no one does, it means these laws are actually good,” she says.
Nabakooba notes that the objective is to see that the performing music industry is streamlined since it’s a profession.
“It has been going on but with no regulations and that is why I can’t blame them (artists) now for how they react since everyone has been carrying themselves in the way they deem fit doing what they want with no one tapping their barks.”