By Scoop Reporter
THE National Arts Council (NAC) has advised artistes in Zambia to desist from resorting to protests and other illegal activities saying there are various laid down channels of airing out their grievances.
NAC chairperson Patrick Samwimbila says there is no need for anyone to engage in unnecessary antagonism because during the recent engagement between the artistes and the Minister of Tourism and Arts, Ronald Chitotela, the artistes requested for quarterly meetings with Government which were granted.
Mr. Samwimbila says while the council recognises the important role artistes play in society as they are role models and a mirror of society reflecting the passions and concerns of the people, there is no need for them to engage in illegal activities.
“Regarding protests or any other illegal activities, the standpoint of the Council is that Artists have various laid down channels of airing out their grievances; from the National Arts Associations, to the Council and indeed up to the ministry.
“We feel there is no need for anyone to engage in unnecessary antagonism because there are sufficient platforms for our artists to be heard. We therefore call upon individuals, political parties, civil society organizations or indeed any other interest groups who plan to hold demonstrations for their own agendas to stop hiding in the well-intended concerns aired by our artists recently,” Mr. Samwimbila said.
He says Mr. Chitotela has opened his doors to meet artistes from across the country frequently, which opportunity they should grab in order to build a cordial relationship with Government and build investor and corporate confidence for the sake of the growth and productivity the industry seriously needs.
He has also appealed to social media bloggers and commentators to desist from judging and demeaning any artiste(s) who decide to meet with any Government officials to air out their views.
“The same way you celebrate them and shout praises like, “I stand with you” when they speak out via social media, you should also stand with them when they decide to visit any Government office, ministry or indeed State House to air out the same views.
“They are responsible Zambians and they should be free to meet their leaders directly to dialogue and be part of the solution to the situations they desire addressed,” he said.
He also says NAC will stand with all the artistes during this unproductive, difficult COVID-19 period.
He has assured the artistes that better days are coming soon because President Edgar Lungu, through the Ministry of Tourism and Arts, has approved the Council’s proposal to support the creative economy stimulation multidisciplinary festival and other possible funding opportunities as a cushion to the industry.