Tanzanian arts council, BASATA, has indefinitely banned musician Dudu Baya from music after he made “ill remarks” against media executive, Ruge Mutahaba, who died on Tuesday, February 26.
Immediately after news about Mr Mutahaba’s death broke, Dudu Baya — whose real name is Godfrey Tumaini — took to social media to criticise the Clouds Media Group director of programmes as “selfish” and “not worth mourning”.
A section of Tanzanian artistes and leaders in government credit the late Mr Mutahaba – a career media administrator — for the growth of Bongo music in and out of Tanzania.
Rapper Dudu Baya, however, disagrees, instead directing his praise at veteran music producer P-Funk Majani.
“There is no artiste who is unaware of P-Funk Majani’s contribution toward the growth of Tanzanian music industry. His record label, Bongo Records, was the biggest music production company back in the day. All the big-name musicians were signed under the label. However, his dream and the company were brought down by this same very person [Ruge Mutahaba]. He was like a virus [to P-Funk’s efforts],” said Dudu Baya in a February 26 video message posted on his social media pages.
“Mutahaba wanted artistes to record free of charge at P-Funk’s label. P-Funk refused. Mutahaba, thereafter, warned established and upcoming artistes: ‘If you record under Majani’s label, as Clouds FM, we won’t play your music’. Is that a person worth mourning?” said Dudu Baya.
“Until when will we protect crooks and thugs in our society? God has directed me to speak out, and say nothing but the truth.
“Artistes went through so much difficulty under Mutahaba. He was close to power. He even visited the State House – often — under the pretext that he was advocating for the welfare of musicians. The truth is that yes, he made people popular, but ensured they remained financially broke and eternally dependent [on him],” said Dudu Baya.
“Stupid musicians today are the ones mourning Mutahaba. You’ll see them writing RIP on his image, yet back at home, they are complaining about how oppressive and selfish he was,” said Dudu Baya.
Following his outburst, which was deemed to be “inappropriate”, Tanzania’s Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Harrison Mwakyembe, ordered the rapper’s arrest.
Dudu Baya would, a few minutes later — in a video posted on his social media pages –, dare the minister to make real his threat.
“It is mamba (crocodile) Dudu Baya right here; the dirty oil. I am at my house. Information minister, Mr Mwakyembe, I understand you have ordered the Tanzanian police to arrest me. Kindly, don’t waste government money on fueling the officers’ vehicles so that they can look for me. Let them use that fuel in hunting for thugs. Ask the police officers to tell me to present myself at any station, and I would go,” said Dudu Baya.
The musician was, however, arrested the following day (February 27) and taken to Oyster-Bay police station, where he remains locked up.
And now, the arts board, BASATA, has added a blow to Dudu Baya’s woes by locking him out of the music industry.
In a letter dated February 28, the agency’s executive secretary Godfrey Mngereza said the board “has decided to revoke Dudu Baya’s BASATA membership following his arrest, which was prompted by the recent inappropriate remarks he made against Ruge on social media”.
“The board is appalled at Dudu Baya’s conduct, which was unwarranted, distasteful and goes against our cultural practice as Tanzanians,” said BASATA.
Without being a member of BASATA, no artiste in Tanzania can pursue music professionally.
It remains unclear when the musician will either be released from custody or arraigned.
Ruge Mutahaba succumbed to kidney failure at a South African hospital last Tuesday.
President John Magufuli, his predecessor Jakaya Kikwete, among other leaders have mourned the late media boss.