President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to launch investigations against the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK).
The President said that the current occurrence where the MCSK paid artistes Sh. 2,500 as royalties, indicates that there is a problem in its leadership.
He said it is impossible for the society to collect Sh. 230 million and then claim that over 60 per cent of the money was used in the collection process.
“I have ordered the DCI to investigate MCSK to establish whether some people are taking other people’s dues,” he said.
He noted that those who will be found to have embezzled musicians’ money will have to return it.
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The President, who was speaking during popular musician John Mwangi Ng’ang;a aka De’ Mathew’s burial in Gatanga, Murang’a County, also noted that MCSK’s offices will be relocated.
He said its offices are currently in the Attorney Generals’s office but will now be hosted by the department of Information, Communication and Technology.
“The ICT department will be able to know what music has been played and in which station, and ensure musicians are paid for it but the attorney General’s office is just made up of lawyers,” he said.
The president further noted that the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology has been ordered to ensure they check whether a broadcaster or telecom company has paid artistes whose content it has used their dues before its license is renewed.
Companies that do not pay up will be switched off as they used musicians’ work to get advertisers.
He said De’ Mathew was passionately fighting for musicians to get their rights and constantly called him for assistance.
“We are not only doing this in his respect but also because we want a country where people get paid for their sweat,” he said, vowing to ensure anyone who takes money that does not belong to them will be followed.
“I do not have a friend in these things, my only friend is the Kenyan community,” he said.
The President also pledged to have a recording studio started years ago by former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth but was later vandalized, revived.
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He pointed out that the studio will be re-equipped with equipment worth Sh. 10 million through the studio Mashinani programme.
He said Gatanga is endowed with a vast singing talent and many artistes will use the opportunity to record their music.
A feeder road leading to De Mathew’s home in Gathiru-ini village from Mukarara shopping centre, will also be upgraded and named after the musician.
The President hailed the musician as a person who loved peace and united people through his music.
He said even as he prospered in his career, he did not forget his friends yet he could have done without them.
“When I heard about his death, I was very sad knowing even where he was coming from when he met his death, he was not chasing after his interests but assisting a friend,” he said, noting that up to his last minute, De Mathew cherished his friendship.
He said he went round the country with the musicians when he was fighting the International Criminal Court cases and when he afterwards sought votes.
He said he had lost a friend and lauded his two wives for resolving to stick together without conflict.
He said it is not easy for a woman to stand and acknowledge her co-wife to avoid conflict. Other polygamous families should learn from them.
The President pledged to ensure his children complete their education, vowing to stand with the family.