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Don’t resume public performances—Government

Gloria Manong'a

The government has cautioned country’s musicians against resuming public performances, the letter dated May 26 2020 to the Musicians Union of Malawi (Mum) that The Daily Times has seen discloses.

The letter signed by Director of Arts, in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Humphrey Mpondaminga says they expect musicians to play their role and avoid endeveours which are in violation of regulations meant to control the spread of the pandemic.

The letter is in response to press conference which Mum held recently at Robins Park in Blantyre calling for support from the government in that they were struggling to make ends meet.

But the government has indicated that they were looking at ways of assisting the creative industry and has since advised musicians not to resume public performances.

“You may recall that government had instituted Public Health Regulations to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. The regulations are still in force, and relevant government authorities are empowered to enforce these regulations,” reads the letter in part.

The government has since urged Mum to advice its members regarding their position on the resumption of public performances.

The response also comes after some musicians such as Black Missionaries and Skeffa Chimoto have already announced that they would be holding shows this coming weekend.

The creative industry have bemoaned the lack of seriousness by the government in enforcing the necessary measures as well as playing double standards with politicians campaigning freely and attracting thousands of people during rallies ahead of the fresh presidential election.

The government has since said it appreciates the concerns raised by the music body and that it sympathises with the musicians on how the music industry has been affected by the control measures to the pandemic.

“The Ministry wishes to update you that we are still waiting for consideration on a number of proposals which were jointly developed between the Ministry and Mum. The proposals include mainstreaming of musicians in sensitisation messages on Covid-19 pandemic,” reads the letter.

The government further says that the submission is still under consideration at the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology which is the secretariat for the Communications Sub-committee of the National Taskforce on the pandemic and that they were also waiting for feedback for the submissions which the Ministry made to Unicef on mainstreaming artists in sensitisation campaigns.

The other submission which the government has made to treasury is on waiving off the five percent for the Treasury on the blank media levy.

“The Ministry remains optimistic that these submissions will yield results and help to assist artists during these difficult times,” reads the letter.

Manong’a confirmed receiving the letter Monday but indicated that they were yet to meet on the way forward.

“We are meeting as Mum and then we will make a decision,” she said.

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