Tanzania Frees Rapper Mitego Arrested for ‘Insulting’ President
It was a double score for Emmanuel Elibariki, alias Ney wa Mitego, after he was released from police custody without any charges and the green light given to his new song that was the reason for his arrest in the first place.
The rapper who found himself in trouble with authorities after releasing the song which was viewed too critical of the government, was released from the Central Police Station yesterday and received by jubilant fans and family members.
His release followed an order of the new minister for Information, Culture Sports and Arts, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, who revealed President John Magufuli had directed him to ensure the artist was set free. Ney was arrested on Saturday in Morogoro and moved to Dar es Salaam where he was reportedly wanted.
His release came even as more artists released new songs mirroring on the same subject of apparent intolerance of criticism in government. A Morogoro based artist, ‘Mgosi wa Kaya’ , released a song that questioned the direction the fifth phase administration was taking the country. It was released on the internet as debate intensified on the arrest of Ney whose song was also a reflection of the current troubles facing the government.
In Dodoma, Dr Mwakyembe told journalists that the President ordered the release of the rapper. He added that the President has also directed the Tanzania National Arts Council (Basata) to lift the ban imposed on his song.
The minister said the President had asked that Ney should improve the content of the song by adding more of the challenges in society other than those he singled out.
The President said the rapper should include issues like the effect of narcotics and tax evaders in the song’s content.
“The President and I have seen no problem with the song, in fact the beat is very good and that is why I advised Basata to let the song continue being played. Music is a special way of delivering messages to society and that can help us solve various issues within our society.”
The rapper was arrested on Saturday for allegedly insulting the government through his new single called ‘Wapo’.
According to his relatives, Ney was detained after attempting to go into hiding for three days.