By Terence Miselo
Three mother-body arts associations have pledged to work with the President-elect Edgar Chagwa Lungu and the Patriotic Front government in an effort to improve arts in Zambia.
Speaking through their individual leaders at a joint press briefing held at Lusaka’s Playhouse on Saturday, the three bodies namely Zambia Association of Musicians (ZAM) headed by Njoya Tembo, National Association of Media Arts (NAMA) led by Patrick Salubusa and National Theatre Arts Association of Zambia (NATAAZ) presided by Boyd Chibale, the three leaders agreed to work closely with the PF government in the promotion of arts development.
They praised the PF government for recognising the arts through the creation of the arts and tourism ministry but appealed to the president to create a stand-alone ministry of arts as they felt combining it with tourism was overshadowing the arts.
“As musicians and artistes, we are saying that we want to be honoured, or we want to appeal that as the President-elect constitutes his cabinet, he considers putting in place a ministry of arts and culture. We are looking forward to that because we know that under tourism and arts, tourism has overshadowed arts and we are not receiving the attention we deserve,” said ZAM president Njoya Tembo.
His counterpart Patrick Salubusa, who is also newly-elected Kapwepwe Ward Councillor under the PF in Matero, said it is high time the new government recognised the arts sector following its contributions to democracy and the run-up to elections.
“We are all aware of the role the artistes played during the campaigns, musicians and filmmakers you know, we saw adverts, we enjoyed the music, a clear indication that this is a very important industry. So, now is the time we were recognised as artistes. First of all, the National Arts Council has to start funding arts associations. If you have seen, the National Sports Council is well-funded. All the associations which sit on the National Sports Council of Zambia Board are funded annually but that is not the case when it comes to the artistic industry,” lamented Salubusa, who appealed to President Lungu to reward the artistes through a stand-alone ministry that must be headed by someone with an artistic background.
“We are proud to say that in the PF, we have a good number of honourable MPs with artistic backgrounds and it is our hope that the President would consider our call to have a ministry of arts and culture away from tourism that would be headed by someone with an artistic record,” he said.
Meanwhile, Boyd Chibale has assured the President-elect and the PF government that artists will continue to play a leading role in preaching peace and unity so as to allow government run smoothly.
“The artistes have contributed largely to spreading the message of peace; I think you and I have seen on TV, we have heard on radio, many songs that are coming out, artistic films that are spreading the message of peace. That is what we, as artistes, would like to continue doing. There is no other form of patriotism that we can show other than using our creative minds and our artistic talents to preach peace in our country,” said Chibale.