By Charity M. Ngabirano
The move by the Government to ban schools from hosting musical artistes has left many shaking their heads in disbelief.
This, the Ministry of Education claimed in an August 1 circular, has been as a result of moral decay in both pupils and students as they copy and paste what they see.
“On the morning of Monday, July 11, 2022, the country woke up to the shocking videos that were circulating on social media to portray the indecency that is allowed in our children’s schools,” the circular signed by Dr Jane Ekou-Egau, on behalf of the permanent secretary of the education ministry, stated.
“It is now clear that there have been several of these totally unacceptable and offensive extracurricular and entertainment activities. If schools need to entertain themselves, then they can engage in acting plays or arrange concerts. However, inviting singers who dance erotic dances, naked in the schools in the guise of extra-curricular activities must be forbidden henceforth.”
The ministry also insists that the ban will last until it comes up with proper guidelines on the nature and conduct of co-curricular and entertainment activities allowed in schools.
In 2019, Winnie Nwagi caused a stir when she went crazy at a school event, engaging in an erotic dance with one of the male students.
Nwagi, who is infamous for her skimpy dressing, ended up apologising to the public for her unbecoming behaviour.
Singer Sheebah Karungi has, on the other hand, cautioned parents against blaming artistes for their children’s behaviour.
“Why do you want me to raise your children? Sit down with your child and counsel them. Tell them that even if they love Sheebah, they should not dress like Sheebah. Raise your child the way you want. There are nude videos of students going around, doing what I do not even do. Am I also the one who taught them?”
Many artistes have asked to be excluded from the new directive.
Child rapper Fresh Kid’s father, Fresh Daddy, has vowed that unless they find military parked at the school gate or they are stopped by the school authorities, which hired them, his son will go ahead to perform.
Fresh Kid, 10, had earlier been banned from performing at night events because he has to attend school.
He was left with few options, which include performing in schools, day events, which are not common and birthday parties, whereby the pay is not lucrative.
Fresh Daddy clarified that the ministry came up with the new measure when they had already received six bookings from schools in Iganga and Mbale districts, among others.
Liam Voice said: “If the minister found a problem with it, then it concerns other artistes, not me. My music is very good; there are no vulgar words in it or such dances.”
Victor Ruz said: “When I decided to make them (students) my target audience, I decided to change my appearance and music. I even cut off my dreadlocks for them to look up to me. Schools should choose people that fit in their docket, and they could also brief the artistes about the dress code and behaviour.”
Their cry is that there should at least be guidelines and not a total ban, as schools and young people are their largest fan base.
What does the law say?
The law regulating Uganda performing artistes provides that; no indecently dressed artiste will be allowed on stage, and any artiste who uses vulgar language on stage will have their licence cancelled.
Schools are ordinarily free to choose who they allow to go through their gates. However, with the recent directive, they have to exclude performing artistes from the list of co–curricular activities.
These are activities that are recognised by a school, that fall beyond the domain of academic curriculum, but are an essential part of a student’s lie at an educational institute.
Some schools have embraced co-curricular activities with gusto as they argue that these activities help children develop different skills beyond knowledge of subjects and can help to improve teaching techniques at school.
The ministry is charged with issuing these guidelines, since it is the custodian of the values and behaviour of the children of Uganda while at school.
So schools will have to get other alternatives to engage their students.
As for the artistes, they can look forward to inspiring these students during school holidays.
The writer is an advocate
Note: The article is intended to provide information about general statements of law and is not intended to create an advocate-client relationship. Contact a lawyer on specific legal problems