Lucky Otim song banned in Uganda

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Lucy Ilado

Security authorities in Uganda banned a song that criticises several ministers and members of parliament from the northern region of the country.

‘Mac Onywalo Buru’ (Fire Produces Ash) by musician Lucky Otim accuses deputy speaker Jacob Oulanyah, ministers Betty Amongi and Okello Oryem, and MPs Jimmy Akena, Beatrice Anywar and Michael Ocula of colluding with the current regime, which the singer says has neglected the needs of the Acholi people in the north of the country.

“I was exposing the leaders who run away from people and side with government for their selfish interests, which is wrong for any leader who is authentically elected,” Lucky Otim told a local publication. 

He said politicians who were members of the Forum for Democratic Change, the main opposition party, had crossed the floor for the ruling National Resistance Movement.

Regional Resident District Commissioner William Komakech said any radio station that airs the song would be shut down.

“It’s on the grounds of inciting violence that we are stopping the reproduction of more copies of the song,” he said.

Last year American economist Frederick Pardee, with the support of the United States Agency for International Development, released a report that ranked the northern region as the poorest in Uganda.

In January, 50 Acholi youths calling themselves Wang-OO (Bonfire) accused Museveni of grossly neglecting the region.

“If we sit and wait for donors and the government to provide us money for development, then we are in for a shock,” the group's chairperson, Okello Okello, said. “We should embrace the old concept of self-help if we don’t want others to mock us. We are years behind other Ugandans.”

The release of ‘Mac Onywalo Buru’ now makes Lucky Otim a radical and activists. He joins a number of artists who employ music to address the socio-political challenges in Uganda, including musician-turned-politician Bobi Wine whose song ‘Freedom’ was banned last year for criticising the government. – Music In Africa

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