Southern Province Minister Dr. Edify Hamukale has been accused of pocketing over K70,000 meant for entertainment after he paid his own Band to perform at the ongoing Southern Province Tourism and Investment Expo in Livingstone.
Zambia Association of Musicians Deputy Secretary Davison Munsanda said Dr Hamukale has placed his personal interests above the interests of other artists.
Mr Munsanda who is also National Arts Council Southern Province Chairperson questioned how Dr Hamukale’s Band was awarded the tender to perform at the Expo.
He said Artists are now demanding for answers from Dr. Hamukale over failure to declare interest as an Artist at the Expo.
Sources in the organizing committee have revealed that Dr Hamukale demanded huge sums of money for his band to perform main act leaving other invited artists in the dark over their payments.
“How can a solo artist pocket K71 000 leaving others to face the heat and empty promises. We are aware of the amount of money budgeted for the artist at the Southern Expo,” Mr Munsanda said.
“Hon Edify Hamukale has been sitting on the development of art in the province and this is way too much. He was recognised and given a chance to serve as Minister because of his presence in the creative industry unfortunately the Minister has forgotten where he comes from, He failed to serve at ZAMCOPS I wonder why he has been put to run the province ,he considers himself a better artist but leadership is beyond the guitar, Leadership is about having a heart for the people around you.”
He added, “I have been ZAM Chairman for Southern Province for 3 years now and I have never awarded myself a contract to perform leaving my artist without opportunities to shine. However, Hon Edify has continued to run all activities in the province without considerable steps towards his fellow artist.”
“I remember him performing alone at the provincial women’s day celebrations in Choma. He claims to be giving out his Sound System to artists yet he goes ahead mistreating the artist.”
Mr Munsanda said Artist were selected to perform at the Expo for eight days without being given transport and other logistics including accommodation.
“Artist fees have been paid to one name and it is that of the Minister and his band. Who hired him,” he questioned.
“Why are we empowering individuals instead of building the creative industry and having an equal transparent platform for all artist. We have PAAC headed by Pastor Baster Tembo who has several times been found exploiting artist and we try to meet and discuss better ways of managing these events but to no avail the story cant be changed because the ones sitting on the throne wont take advise.”
He added, “Let them release the contracts and tell us why they haven’t honoured those contracts, Reality here is that there are no contracts and artist are being abused. I will not be intimidated by his political will on such matters, by the way as Chairperson of the province I have visited his office and there is nothing he has to offer for artist apart from his boastful attitude.”
“I am informed K71 000 was paid directly to him and I hope an investigation is set to find out the truth as this is not the first time we have been told there is no money after a few individuals silently walk away with figures that can feed the entire industry.”
He disclosed that Artists were promised verbally that they will receive K8000 for all the days without accommodation, transport and food.
“This is the year of the Arts and we cant allow a fraction to benefit. All artist deserve the best but I am personally disappointed to hear of the messy operations at the Expo. I plead with the Minister of Tourism and Arts to take care of his Ministry by making sure our artist across the country are not mistreated.”
When contacted for a comment, Dr Hamukale referred all queries to Provincial Permanent Secretary, Mwangala Liomba who in turn disclosed that the Expo Committee released K100,000 towards entertainment and that artists will decide how they will share the money among themselves.
He clarified that Dr. Hamukale has sacrificed his money to pay his live band while emphasizing that the Minister is not being paid from the Expo account.
Mr. Liomba added that the Committee will identify an account which will receive the money and redistribute to the rest to the artists according to their contracts.
Meanwhile, tempers flared up on Wednesday when information emerged that Dr Hamukale cashed out 35,000 of his personal money to pay his live band at the Expo following dissatisfaction among artists over contractual disagreements.
This was after information emerged alleging Hamukale’s live band had demanded about four times more than what other local artists are getting combined.
These revelations turned into a heated argument between Patriotic Front Provincial Youth Vice Chairperson Obby Mweemba and Dr Hamukale after the PF official asked the Minister whether the allegations were true.
Mr. Mweemba told Journalists that artists complained to him that the live band’s contract was pegged at K31, 000 while about five local artists would share K8, 000 among themselves.
He claims that Dr Hamukale ‘insulted’ and told him to stop sniffing and poking his nose in the Expo business after the Minister was challenged to allow young people to expose their talents at the Expo.