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Inside gov't plan to pay Kenyan musicians via eCitizen

CS Moses Kuria & colleague Aisha Jumwa clash over plan pay musicians via eCitizen

Kenyan musicians Krispah Khaligraph Jones and Boutross

The government's proposal to digitize the collection and distribution of royalties for creatives has sparked a debate between Public Service CS Moses Kuria and Gender, Culture, The Arts, and Heritage CS Aisha Jumwa.

In a recent social media posts, CS Moses Kuria hinted at plans to streamline the process by amending the Copyright Act.

He proposed the establishment of a government-run Collective Management Organisation (CMO) through which all music, copyrights, and royalties would be managed.

Kuria emphasized that artists would be individually registered, enabling them to track their earnings online.

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"The government is spearheading amendments to the Copyright Act to create a government run Collective Management Organisation. All music, copyrights and royalties will be paid through E-Citizen. Our artists will be individually registered. They can view online how much money is collected. Siku 40 za wezi wa jasho ya artists zimeisha," he said.

However, CS Aisha Jumwa responded to Kuria's proposal with appreciation for his enthusiasm but clarified that her ministry, specifically the state department of Culture, Arts & Heritage, holds the responsibility for overseeing the sector.

She mentioned ongoing discussions with industry stakeholders aimed at streamlining the creative industry.

Jumwa assured that once these discussions conclude, the ministry will announce its decision on the way forward.

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"I like the zeal of my colleague and friend Moses Kuria and in the spirit of one government approach this opinion is valid. However, my ministry through the state department of Culture, Arts & Heritage is in charge and is working on streamlining the industry," CS Jumwa responded.

The proposal by CS Moses Kuria suggests a significant shift towards digitization and transparency in the management of royalties for artists.

The intention to utilize eCitizen for payments underscores the government's commitment to modernizing processes and enhancing accountability in the creative sector.

On the other hand, CS Aisha Jumwa's response reflects the importance of inter-ministerial coordination and collaboration within the government.

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While acknowledging Kuria's input, she emphasizes the need for comprehensive discussions and consensus-building among stakeholders before implementing any changes.

In recent years, there have been calls for reforms within CMOs to address these issues and improve their effectiveness in serving artists' interests.

Artists have advocated for greater transparency in royalty collection and distribution processes, increased representation and involvement in CMO governance structures, and stricter oversight to prevent mismanagement and corruption.

Additionally, advancements in technology have presented opportunities to enhance CMO operations through digital platforms for royalty management and payment, increasing efficiency and reducing administrative costs.

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