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KOFFI OLOMIDE [PHOTO | COURTESY]

EXCLUSIVE: Koffi Olomide responds as State maintains persona-non-grata stance

Congolese Lingala maestro Koffi Olomide says he is uncertain about his impending tour to Kenya after the government announced that his status as a prohibited immigrant remains in force.

Speaking exclusively to EDAILY on phone from Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mr Olomide said his handlers in Kenya have assured him that he is free to visit Kenya, though they have not clarified to him whether he was cleared by the State, casting doubts whether he will travel to Kenya to perform.

“They [Kenyan reps] have told me I am free to visit Kenya. I am waiting they confirm if I am still booked for the Kakamega event. I will take the next plane should they say I am wanted in Kenya,” said Koffi Olomide, confident that his trip was still on course.

When pressed to reveal whether he had indeed signed a contract to perform at the Governors’ Devolution Conference in Kakamega, Mr Olomide was non-committal: “Seek that and other information from my Kenyan representatives.”

The Interior Ministry on April 13 told Citizen Digital that the ‘Selfie’ hit-maker needed to apply formally for revocation of his status as an unwanted person. That process had not yet begun by Monday, April 23. The Fifth Annual Devolution conference begins Monday, April 23 to Thursday, April 26.

Koffi Olomide, according to a video recording he had shared online on April 13, confirmed he was indeed going to perform at the convention on April 24. He said he had been invited to Kakamega by area governor Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya.

The governor would, later on April 13, appear in a public rally to urge his constituents to turn up in large numbers for the entertainment program during the Fifth Annual Devolution Conference, with Koffi set to headline the show at the revamped Bukhungu Stadium on April 24.

“Mimi nimeona pia watu wangu wanapenda mziki, nimeleta Koffi Olomide… [I have noticed that my people love to listen to music. I have, consequently, booked Koffi Olomide for April 24],” Mr Oparanya told an elated crowd in Kakamega.

Curiously, Citizen Television’s Francis Gachuri confirmed that the official program for the devolution conference does not factor in Koffi’s performance.

Koffi Olomide was declared persona-non-grata following an assault incident in July, 2016 when he was caught on camera assaulting one of his female dancers at the Jommo Kenyatta International Airport arrival terminal. The incident seems to be like a bad rash that doesn’t seem to go away.

The government is adamant that the sexagenerian remains unwelcome. The Interior spokesperson Mwenda Njoka told Citizen Digital on phone on April 13 that should Mr Olomide step foot in Kenyan soil without his status being regularized, the 60 year old would be deported immediately.

“The onus is on Koffi Olomide to ask for his status (as a prohibited immigrant) to be lifted. The onus is not us (Interior Ministry). Koffi, if he won’t regularize his status, would just land on Kenyan soil, and would be taken back to the aeroplane, which brought him, for ejection. Those are international procedures,” said Mr Njoka.

EDAILY, at 2:05pm Monday, reached out to one of Kofii Olomide’s promoters in Kenya, Nsana Jules, who said: “I will confirm to you whether the singer will be coming to Kenya, or not.”

When asked whether the process to regularize Koffi Olomide’s status as an unwanted person (in Kenya) has begun – or has been completed – Mr Jules said: “I will also confirm that to you later.”

 

 

 

 

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EDITORIAL POLICY: Permission to use quotation from this article is granted subject to full credit of source being given by referencing the direct link of the article on edaily.co.ke

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