Kenya: MPs Want Sh500 Million Kenyatta Kitty for Artists

Lawmakers have questioned how a Sh100 million stimulus package given out by President Kenyatta to cushion artists against the effects of Covid-19 was used, saying a majority of artists, actors and musicians in their constituencies did not receive anything.

The lawmakers now want President Kenyatta to issue another Sh500 million to the artists through the offices of MPs as opposed to the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage.

They are also pushing the Head of State to consider reopening entertainment joints, saying artists have become beggars and idlers due to the current containment measures imposed on clubs and events.

MPs said musicians in their respective constituencies have been asking them about the money issued by the President.

Issuing a report on how the money was shared out, the chairman of National Assembly’s Sports and Culture Committee, Patrick Makau, said some of the funds were given to the National Museums of Kenya and the Kenya Cultural Centre while some remained at the ministry and was used for messaging.

Mr Makau said the ministry had told the committee that the eligibility criteria were that applicants must be Kenyans, provide a profile with proof of their artistic work for the previous six months and must have not been beneficiaries of the Covid-19 funding released by the government

However, lawmakers dismissed the report issued by the ministry, saying officials did not get in touch with them so that the money could be channelled to its intended beneficiaries.

Gatanga MP Joseph Nduati said his constituency has produced renowned artists but none of them received any of the Sh100 million.

“I can tell his House confidently that the artists in my area got nothing despite producing well-known artists in this country. It is my plea that even as we observe Covid-19 protocols, there is a need to accommodate artists so that they can continue earning their income,” Mr Nduati said.

Kilifi North MP Owen Baya decried that places like Watamc region, have become ghost towns because of the strict Covid-19 protocols imposed by the government.

“I want to urge the government to open the counties not worst affected by coronavirus. Towns like Malindi and Watamu are completely dead and people have nothing to do and have nothing to eat,” Mr Baya said.

“The Sh100 million created a lot of excitement but nothing got to the ground. Artists in my area got nothing.”

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