Musician Moses Ssali alias Bebe Cool has cried out to the government to come to the rescue of musicians whom he says have resorted to stealing in order to survive.
While appearing on a local radio station, Ssali said that the government should open the entertainment industry and also offer a stimulus package to the musicians so that they can get back on their feet.
“The times are tough. I had to use all my savings during the lockdown. The entertainment industry holds so many people and the effect of COVID-19 has been tough. People have switched jobs from music to being thugs,” he said.
“The President needs to wake up and directly engage the people affected. The President is concentrating on safety but there are people who won’t return (economically). We are not talking about people dying of COVID-19 but we are talking about people dying of hunger,” he added.
He further noted that “If you don’t want us to insist on our stupidity of telling you to open up. Find out why we are saying you open. We understand in our industry we are stupid but we also deserve the attention. A stimulus (package) is the only way government can help the music and sports industry.”
In response, the COVID incident commander, Lt Col Dr Henry Kyobe, said there is a need to retool the musicians and urged them to venture into the informal sector.
“Ssali is talking about the stimulus package. Where will that money come from and for how long will the musicians use the money? We understand the pain of our brothers and sisters in complex industries. We will have a staggered opening depending on risks. We only have to wait a little bit,” he said.
Dr Alfred Driwale, the UNEPI program manager, said there is a need to move consciously on reopening of the remaining sectors given their complex nature.