Artists led by musician and arts activist Eric Trinta will finally present their petition to Parliament calling for the tabling of the long awaited National Arts and Heritage Council (NaHec) Bill Friday.
Trinta confirmed the development Thursday, saying they would present it this morning before Parliament rises.
“We have already sent word to Parliament on this and we are set for this and we are serious about it. As artists, we have been taken for granted for a long time and yet we have made several contributions to the development of the country,” he said.
Trinta said the presentation of the petition marks the beginning of several assignments aimed at engaging stakeholders and the government to support the creative sector.
“NaHec Bill has to be treated with urgency and we want NaHec to be established. All is set to present the petition and once this is done we will start pushing through the ministries so that there is ample time before the budget meeting. If not mentioned in the budget statement, then actual actions will commence,” he said.
Trinta said they have involved all arts associations and stakeholders and that they were speaking with one voice.
Trinta, who is owner of Nyamithambo Arts Palace in Nsanje and Lilongwe, said the petition seeks to draw to the attention of Parliament, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife the fact that the creative industry is in dire need of NaHec, which will help in the development of arts and culture in the country.
“What we are saying is that art is a career worth pursuing and it deserves all the respect. We have served the government and politicians in various capacities but when it comes to supporting us, we are sidelined. Let our voice be heard and we need change,” Trinta said.
He said the Culture Policy was approved in 2015 and that their expectation was to have the NaHec Bill tabled and enacted as soon as possible
“If Malawi were to create jobs and wealth at household level as per government’s plan, this is the bill which needs urgent attention,” Trinta said.
He said they were tired of poor budgets given to the culture ministry which has resulted in their failure to even rehabilitate some of the entertainment hubs citing the once mighty mecca- Blantyre Cultural Centre, which is still in pathetic state