President John Magufuli ordered yesterday the release of Bongo Flava artiste, Emmanuel Elbariki alias Ney wa Mitego, who was arrested on Sunday by the Police in Morogoro.
The ‘Wapo’ hit singer and controversial artiste, was arrested in Mvomero District midnight after a gig and was transferred back to Dar es Salaam for questioning.
Earlier it was claimed the singer and songwriter was summoned by National Arts Council (Basata) for what they describe the musician had ‘violated’ content in his new hit song ‘Wapo’.
The lyrics include; questioning whether there is still freedom of expression in the country and euphemistically makes reference to a doctor who lances boils, but cannot tolerate criticism.
Short after the rapper was arrested, the public including fellow artists took the matter to social media. But in the turn of the events yesterday, President Magufuli questioned why the artiste was arrested for executing his constitutional right, “freedom of opinion.” “The President was surprised by the act,” Information, Culture, Arts and Sports Minister, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, told reporters in Dodoma.
Instead, the minister said the president had advised the rapper to improve his hit by increasing some missing lyrics. He identified the missing ‘crucial’ words as drug users, drug barons and tax evaders.
According to Mwakyembe, Ney had not breached any law and should be freed. While it is common that Basata tends to ban such songs for local media platforms including Radio and Television, the president said there was no need for such song to be banned as it creates public awareness.
The president said “he likes such kind of artistes and he has the song in his phone listening every blessed day.” The minister, however, said he has already informed the police to release the rapper and that he was expecting to welcome the musician in Dodoma for additional missing lyrics.