Musician and arts activist Eric Trinta has said he will plans to reach out to fellow creatives in the country to petition Parliament to table the long awaited National Arts and Heritage Council (NaHec) Bill.
Trinta said yesterday he wants Parliament to table NaHec Bill which would result in the establishment of NaHec.
“We have already drafted the petition which we want to present to Parliament before it rises. We are just putting our house in order as well as linking up with fellow creatives on this; otherwise, NaHec is long overdue. We have been lobbying for its establishment for a long time and it is high time it was treated with urgency,” he said.
Trinta, who is proprietor 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.
The move comes after officials in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife indicated recently during a meeting with creatives that the NaHec Bill was at the Ministry of Justice.
“NaHec Bill needs to be tabled at this meeting and then we need to know implementation timelines. The petition is also looking for action on low budget allocations to Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife and then the issue of cushioning the creative industry against Covid,” Trinta said.
He said the Culture Policy was approved in 2015 and that their expectation was to have the bill tabled and enacted as soon as possible.
“If Malawi is 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 the petition seeks clear answers.
“NaHec is supposed to be home for all creatives in the country and currently the Malawian artist has no home and it is pathetic when you see our friends in the sports sector having a home. We demand change and it is high time the government started treating arts and culture seriously,” Trinta said.
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi has now and then assured the creatives that he will do anything within his powers to have NaHec established.
“Always when we ask, the answer has always been it is at the Ministry of Justice. Let it not gather dust, let’s have it table for the good of the creative industry. We have suffered a lot, let our voices be heard,” he said.