Kato Lubwama Leads Artists to Meet Kadaga Over Government Stringent Regulations

Artists under their umbrella, the Federation of Performing Artists have petitioned the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga over the stringent guidelines issued by the Ministry of Gender regulating the industry.

The artists led by comedian turned politician Kato Lubwama (Rubaga South MP) lashed out at Government for not consulting them before coming up with the regulations. Among the new regulations include; screening of all new songs by government before they are released.

Kato Lubwama who also doubles as Shadow Minister of Culture also asked Kadaga to help them in establishing artists’ fund that will help them in the production of films and songs, as the costly venture has hampered the execution of their work.

Federation President, Andrew Benon Kibuuka, told the Speaker that although the industry has welcomed the guidelines, he faulted the Ministry of Gender for not consulting with the artists saying the regulations in their current form are full of many loopholes which if ignored are likely to undermine the intended objective and rather oppress the artists.

“These regulations were and are developed by the different Ministries in which we apparently fall. The main problem about this is these rules and regulations are developed by people who are not artists and don’t understand a thing about the art we do. They may have faint ideas but it would be better if they are developed by we the artists or at least a head who is an artist,” Kibuuka said.

The Federation also wants Parliament to have the Artists fully recognized at national level by dedicating a full Commissioner for Arts at the Gender Ministry as opposed to the current setting where artists are lumped up with traditional doctors, family affairs culture yet the industry is wide.

“We agree that there is a department of drama in the Ministry of Culture but we seek independence so we have an artist for a Commissioner because among other factors, our industry is really a big one and touches each and every one in one way or another,” Kibuuka said.   

The Artists also want the Legislative body to look into the confusion the drama industry is facing, with a number of Government agencies claiming a hand in the industry, with calls to have the industry under one body, arguing that at the moment, a number of entities are claiming share on the industry which has thrown the participants into confusion.

Kibuuka called for an independent Ministry to guide the industry arguing; “We are thrown into different Ministries who all have their rules, regulations and policies and expect us to follow all of them. All these Ministries impose different taxes and fines on the artists and we end up being demoralized by our very own and spending all we earn on these taxes and fines from different Ministries. We don’t know where exactly we fall because we find ourselves in the Ministry of ICT, Ethics, Trade, Tourism and Gender.”

Lubwama and Mariam Ndagire, Secretary to the Federation also called for the establishment of a Fund they say will be used to develop the industry as well as establishing schools for performing artists that doesn’t require certificate, but rather harness the talent of Ugandans who aren’t in position to attain formal education.

“When we make dramas, we inject in so much money one drama requires Shs250m that fund will help the Federation make production we want that money,” Kato argued.

Speaker Kadaga admitted that the artists industry is one whose resource haven’t harnessed, yet could reap so much revenue for the country.

The Speaker said; “We need to streamline it and start by speaking about it, later we can discuss whether to remain here, we take singing for granted yet it’s more. I will do whatever is necessary to make sure industry is recognized and organized so we give it the recognition it deserves.”

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