By Steven Enatu
Musicians in Teso have threatened to go on strike if government does not lift or ease restrictions on the entertainment industry.
The Artistes made this threat yesterday when they visited Tbs Radio in Soroti City.
The angry Artistes said they have suffered since government slapped a ban on entertainment activities since covid19 outbreak in February last year.
The musicians stressed that since the outbreak of coronavirus in Uganda last year around February, the government through the ministry of health imposed total lockdown to combat the spread. However, government has gradually been lifting lockdown on certain sectors leaving the entertainment industry out.
Moses Asubu, commonly known as Uncle Mamai expressed his disappointment with the government for having abandoned the entertainment industry.
He said that the government managed to reopen churches, markets, public Transport and schools partially but still maintains a total lockdown on the sector that feeds them.
“We are people who earn through our talents but we have been left destitute, we do not know our fate completely, we also have children to pay school fees for and that has been the source of our income,” he said.
Asubu said that from lockdown they have been blocked from sharing ideas with the community and this has made the community also lose trust in their talent.
“Currently we survive like street children, we are no longer relevant, and we cannot afford rent in the town setting. We could survive on our talent even in supporting Agricultural activities in the villages,” he said.
He added that most artists had their recording studios but when covid19 came in, they are no longer making money.
Israel Odongo known as General Fittaman, also a musician living in Soroti city said that the government should come out clearly and open the entertainment industry with directives just like it has been done to churches, schools and others.
“We are ready to abide by the conditions they will give us but we want the government to allow us to get back into business,” he said.
The musicians unanimously issued a threat for a strike if the government does not give them a listening hear.
“We are ready to mobilize and we can tell you we are ready but we cannot reveal how and when we shall start,” they said.
Meanwhile the Chief Executive Officer Teso Entertainment Award (TEA), the only body that recognizes the efforts of musicians in Teso locally, Sam Edunyu discouraged the musicians from taking the direction of a strike urging them to be patient.
“The covid19 vaccination started in Uganda this week and any time soon we shall get back to normal, let Musicians join saving groups and explore other activities that can make them earn a living,” he said.
Edunyu said that most of the musicians who are complaining were people who used to depend entirely on the small monies they earned from performances.
“What happens if the pandemic does not go away for more than four years?” Edunyu asked adding that the pandemic has affected the whole world.
“When you look at our neighbors Kenya, Tanzania, there are no performances equally,” he said.
He said that as TEA, they recognize that things are really tough in the industry but believe that the government is doing the right thing to protect people.
“TEA Awards, the third edition 2020 would have taken place also last year in a blast but it was watered down by the pandemic even 2021 now we are still hanging in balance, so let’s be patient as we explore our other abilities and make a living out of them” he said.