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MCSK boss Ezekiel Mutua takes on Moses Kuria in royalties row

Music Copyright Society of Kenya Chief Executive Ezekiel Mutua is the latest government official to differ with Public Service Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria’s move to have roylaties for musician be paid through the e-citizen platform.

Mutua suggests the idea will be ‘impossible to execute’.

“When a Cabinet Secretary says the Government will collect royalties for artists through e-Citizen, it’s the highest level of ignorance. Music is a talent like football or athletics,” said Mutua.

Mutua stressed that music is a private right and the government can only get the taxes accruing from payment of royalties, but it cannot purport to administer copyright on behalf of musicians.

Earlier on, the CS had stated that the government is spearheading amendments to the Copyright Act to create a government run Collective Management Organisation (CMO).

MCSK is one of the CMOs that is mandated by the Kenya Copyright Board to collect royalties on its behalf for the artists.

According to Kuria, Kenyan musicians will be individually registered by the government, and will be able to view how money is being collected through the E-Citizen platform.

Dr Mutua and the CS have been on the loggerheads for the last few weeks after the CS criticized the attempt to extend the term of some of MCSK members.

“Music Copyright Society of Kenya Board has been in office for the last 6 years. They want to extend their term irregularly…This is simply not acceptable and it will not pass. Mambo ni matatu. Even stealing has a term limit.”

Kuria’s move to comment on the royalties payments also drew reactions from Arts and Heritage CS Aisha Jumwa who explained that the task falls in her docket.

President William Ruto has in recent times stressed the need to have all government payments, including schoolfees, done digitally through the e-citizen platform, a move that has caused an uproar and legal battles.

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