Malawi's Arts Bill Still Under Scrutiny - Ministry

Amid continued calls on improved welfare for the artists in the country, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture says it is still waiting for the Bill submitted to the Ministry of Justice which will facilitate the establishment of the National Arts and Heritage Council (NAHEC).

The ministry's spokesperson Symon Mbvundula, has told Zodiak Online that they sent the Draft Bill to the Ministry to have their technical input before it is taken to parliament for deliberations.

"What we have done after completing the same is now to submitted it to the Ministry of Justice for their finalisation. We sent it sometime back, but usually issues to do with formulation of the bill take a bit of time because conditions are that we need to consult far and wide. So we needed to thoroughly reach out to many stakeholders as a many as possible.

"But finally, we are glad that we sent it to the ministry for their technical input now," he said.

He believes once the Council is established, it will help in implementing arts and culture policies, initiatives and improve welfare of artists in the country.

Recently, renowned artists Enifa Chiwawa (Ananyoni) and Ruth Simika (Amake Sikono) including Musicians Association of Malawi (MAM) President Gloria Manong'a, openly expressed concerns over government's lack of commitment to ensure the industry is rewarding and reap from their sweat.

For instance, Manong'a said government is taking time to establish the arts mother body, the National Arts and Heritage Council which would guarantee artists welfare.

Meanwhile, NAHEC Taskforce Chairperson at the National Theatre Association of Malawi (NTAM) Maxwell Chiphinga (Max DC) has told Zodiak that they are planning to take unspecified action soon since government is not willing to enact the Bill and establish the Council.

"We are preparing to take an action and we are not going to disclose it now, it’s too early to do so. But we have plans on the pipeline to execute,” he said.

Chiphinga says the association is tired of pushing government on the matter because it has been ignoring them.

He added: “we had even identified a funder to help the process, that we could sit down somewhere together to finalise the bill, but they have been playing hide and seek. So, we are planning an action and finally you will hear it."

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