• Koffi Olomide, DRC government showdown over banned songs

    DRC controversial musician Koffi Olomide had close friends in high political circles in the previous government and supported their election campaigns. In return, he was allowed to infest his music with all sorts of obscenities, ranging from sexually explicit lyrics, provocative behaviour to unorthodox dance moves, to the dismay of parents and conservative minds.

    Now the tables seemed to have turned on him. Despite being dominated by members of the former ruling party, the Felix Tshisekedi administration seems to be telling the King of Tchatcho that enough is enough. No more obscenities in music.

    Actions speak louder than words. The Censorship Commission, a state-controlled agency attached with the ministry of justice, recently banned Olomide’s eight new songs for allegedly offending good morals. However, the Commission has not been able to elaborate how the songs have offended good morals, nor explain what good morals actually mean.

    The songs are banned from broadcast and presentation to the public, according to the Censorship Commission’s letter sent on September 13 to television channels and radio stations.

    An angry and frustrated Olomide then lambasted the Censorship Commission on national TV, accusing it of abuse of power and saying that it “had no reason to exist in a democratic state”.

    He also called on the new government to eradicate the Commission.

    Raided

    The remarks did not go down well with the Censorship Commission which felt Olomide disrespected the national authorities. Consequently, on Wednesday the Police raided Olomide’s luxury home of Mont-Fleuri in the Kinshasa upmarket suburb of Ma-Campagne. He was hauled before the Commission, and heard by two officials for about an hour.

    After his release, the musician’s lawyer told the press that his client would be taking legal action against the policemen who arrested him in a brutal and cruel manner.

    “At the request of my client, we will file a complaint against the agents who brutalised him. Worse, they were filming him at the time of arrest and published those images on social networks to humiliate him,” Olomide’s lawyer Tony Mwaba told the press in the capital Kinshasa.

    Condemnation

    Olomide’s brutal arrest has incensed a local human rights group, which condemned the inhuman conditions of his arrest by the Police. George Kapiamba, the coordinator of l’ Action Pour l’Accès à la Justice (ACAJ), said: “ACAJ condemns the inhuman brutality that sparked the arrest of musician Koffi Olomide on Wednesday in Kinshasa.”

    This association reminds you that every person arrested or detained must get a treatment that preserves his life, his physical and mental health as well as his dignity.”
    Someone’s wife

    At the centre of the controversy lies a song titled “La femme de quelqu’un” (Someone’s wife), which featuring Singuila, a French-Congolese rapper. The song tells a story of a singer jealous who became jealous after his former wife married a senior politician.

    Coincidentally, the former wife of DRC singer JB Mpiana, Amida Shatur, is now married to Vital Kamerhe, the director-general of the office of DRC President Felix Tshisekedi.

    Kamerhe, also a controversial politician, is a former Parliament speaker.  Mpiana, of the Wenge Musica BCBG fame, and Olomide have not been on speaking terms for the past five years.

    The banning of Olomides songs has become the talk of the town in this music-loving nation of 80 million people, where senior politicians and rich businessmen have close relationships with musicians.

    Reliable sources told Star Magazine Africa that the case has been politically motivated. “The song might have shocked and offended JB, especially given the circumstances of his break-up with Amida. So, JB Mpiana appears to have exercised a tremendous pressure on his political connections to give Koffi a hard time,” the source said.

    In a country where magistrates and judges are believed to be under the government’s unofficial payroll, anything can happen in court.

    It is not the first time that Amida had left JB. A few years back she dumped him to marry Didi Kinuani, a rich diamond dealer, with whom she had one child, Diams.

    Amida and Mpiana have four children together.

    Affaire à suivre.

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