Leaders from the North Rift region have raised concern after a section of artists from marginalized pastoral areas were left out in disbursement of Kshs 100 million under the stimulus package for artists.
This comes three months after President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage to set aside Kshs 100 million to cushion local artistes from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The leaders said that many artists, especially traditional dancers, local musicians and other entertainers have not received a penny despite spending their time and resources to record and produce songs and other artistic items.
They cited that many youth who had reformed from engaging in retrogressive practices like banditry and cattle rustling risk going back to the vices due to effects of Covid-19.
Kapenguria MP Samuel Moroto and Youth leader Obadia Koech said that they are reading malice in the process and now want the concerned Ministry to come out clearly over the matter. “We want local artists to get the funds for them to continue entertaining the public through television, radio and the internet,” said Moroto.
Moroto said that there is no transparency in the disbursement of the funds. “The process is taking a normal trend just like other funding processes where funds normally get lost without reaching the target beneficiaries. The President was very clear and he wanted local artists to cushion themselves during this Covid-19 pandemic.”
He lamented that since the outbreak of Covid-19, artists, together with their families have been suffering due to serious economic challenges. “These are hard times for artists because they are not performing. Churches and entertainment joints were closed and they are not making anything in the form of money,” he said.
He said the money awarded to artists by the President was not conditional and that he had good intentions to support them and that artists are not based in Nairobi only, “We have many artists in the country not only in Nairobi. They should understand that there are artists across the country,” he added.
The MP complained that those ordered to release the money either delayed the disbursement or embezzled the funds leaving artists to wallow in poverty. The MP urged President Kenyatta to intervene and fast-track the process of releasing the money to support them during these hard economic times.