Uganda’s Prez filing lawsuit against hip-hop rappers over campaign song

Thursday, December 9, 2010

LONDON - The president of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, is suing the rappers who mixed his renditions of Ugandan folk songs to create a hugely popular rap song.

Museveni sang children’s folk chants from his home area in west Uganda at two campaign rallies, and told supporters that he had heard that young people today “liked rap music”.

A sample of his shout to the crowd, “You want another rap?” has been used by record producers who mixed it with hip-hop beats in tracks, which have been an instant hit.

Thousands of people are downloading the “rap” line as mobile phone ring tones.

But Museveni, who is standing for president again in February’s elections, has now instructed his lawyers to apply for exclusive rights and earnings from the song.

The action has drawn strong criticism from both the 65-year-old President’s political opponents, and from cultural custodians outraged that he is trying to copyright traditional Ugandan music.

“Nobody, not the President, not me has the right to copyright folk chants,” the Telegraph quoted Mwambustya Ndebesa, a history lecturer at Kampala’s Makerere University as saying.

“They should belong to everybody, not be used for political capital.

“I am consulting my lawyers and plan to raise objection with the Registration Service Bureau with the view to blocking him from copyrighting a public song,” Ndebesa said.

Museveni’s support is weakest among sections of Uganda’s mushrooming young population, and his political advisers are hoping that he can attract their votes if they can control the spread of the songs. (ANI)

Filed under: Lawsuit, World

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