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Aisha Jumwa vs Moses Kuria vs Ezekiel Mutua: Battle for royalties collection

Gender, Culture, The Arts, and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Aisha Jumwa has disclosed ongoing discussions between the ministry and key stakeholders in the music industry aimed at improving royalties collection services.

Her statement comes in response to recent remarks by Public Service Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria regarding government plans to establish a state-run Collective Management Organisation (CMO).

Through her X platform, the vocal CS Jumwa said that while she appreciates the spirit of collaboration across government sectors, the matter of CMOs falls directly under her ministry’s jurisdiction.

She affirmed her ministry’s commitment to streamlining the music sector in Kenya.

“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,” Jumwa wrote on X.

Also read: Ezekiel Mutua, Angela Ndambuki say CMOs can’t pay musicians deserved royalties

She further highlighted ongoing engagements with industry stakeholders to optimize operations, promising that once discussions conclude, the ministry will announce its decision.

“There are ongoing discussions with stakeholders in the industry to streamline it. Once discussions are concluded, the ministry will pronounce itself on the next course of action. Asante.”

Jumwa’s comments follow Kuria’s announcement on Sunday regarding amendments to the Copyright Act aimed at establishing a government-run CMO.

Moses Kuria outlined plans for the integration of copyright fees and royalties into the e-Citizen platform for streamlined payment processes.

“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 (The 40 days  for the thieves who plunder the sweat and toil of artists has come to an end.)” he wrote.

Also read: MCSK explains why some Kenyan musicians are not getting their royalties

Now, copyright royalties are collected and paid through the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK), Kenya Association of Music Producers (KAMP), and the Performers Rights Society of Kenya (PRISK).

Under the proposed system, Kenyan artistes will have individual accounts to monitor royalty collections, empowering them with greater transparency and accountability

Responding to the debate, MCSK Chief Executive Ezekiel Mutua took to X and wrote, “The practice world over in respect to royalties management is for the Government to create a conducive environment for CMOs to thrive. The Government cannot interfere with a private right. Kenya is a signatory to the WIPO convention and the principles of WIPO do not allow Government interference with the running of CMOs. MCSK is monitoring the developments including the ongoing Amendment to the Copyright Act and will give our proposals on how we can collaborate with the Government to make the music business more profitable and respectable.”