On 28th March 2022, in a press statement issued by the Music Copyright Society of Kenya [MCSK] Chairperson Mr.Lazarus Muli announced Dr. Ezekiel Mutua’s appointment as the Chief Executive Officer [CEO] of the MCSK effective 25th march 2022. Part of the statement reads ‘The board of directors of the MCSK is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Ezekiel Mutua,MBS as its Chief Executive Officer, effective friday 25th march 2022.’ According to the statement, Dr. Mutua was appointed following a competitive interview.
Dr. Mutua has experience in media and broadcasting. He served as CEO of the Kenya Film Classification Board [KFCB] from 2015 to 2021. He has become a household name since taking the role at KFCB. Being a religious man, he has let religion influence his decisions.
The 21st century has brought about a revolution in media content creation. It gave room to writing and producing contents on issues that were barely spoken of let alone acted in movies and produced as songs. Kenyan content creators have not been left behind. Most of them are now embracing contents which are regarded as controversial and morally decaying in the African setup. KFCB has the authority to regulate the creation, broadcasting, possession, distribution and exhibition of film content. Dr. Mutua has so far banned several content that defy KFCB regulations including the Durex condom and the Coca Cola advertisements, which showed people who were locked in a passionate kiss.
Some of the songs banned are ‘tetema’ by Diamond Platinumz, ‘wamlambez wamnyonyez’ and ‘takataka’ by Alvindo. Dr Mutua justified their ban, saying that the songs were filthy.
He also banned some movies, which he said are against the Kenyan social and cultural values. They include, ‘Fifty shades of grey’, which contains a lot of erotic scenes, ‘Rafiki’, a movie of two women who met and fell in love. This was banned because homosexuality is illegal in Kenya.
Dr. Mutua was ousted from KFCB in 2021 amid accusations of irregular salary payments. His entry to MCSK sparked mixed reaction among his critics following a controversial exit at KFCB.
During an interview with a famous youtuber Eve Mungai, Eric Omondi a renowned comedian and a longtime critic of Dr. Mutua promised to ensure his ouster at MCSK after terming him as an inadequate leader. Bien and Chimano from the Sauti Sol band have also expressed their disappointment in his appointment.
Dr. Mutua’s unorthodox ways of expressing his views and banning contents that he deemed inappropriate from local creatives, has sometimes courted controversy. Nonetheless, in an interview with the Nation newspaper, Dr. Mutua suggested that he wants to make musicians billionaires, asking everyone to allow him to open a new chapter. Even as he is now tasked with fighting for the rights of some of the very people he bashed for unclean content, the question has been to what end as the MCSK boss.
MCSK has had a fair share of controversy, as it has been marred with several allegations of corruption and mismanagement of funds in some instances even lost its licence for collection of royalties. Some artistes and players who attempted to sanitise the body have been met with harsh response, some even receiving death threats from unknown people. “I don’t speak about these things anymore. At one point, I was receiving so many death threats that I had to get police escort,” said a veteran musician interviewed by the Nation newspaper.
With such a past, it is noteworthy that Mutua would encounter tough times especially, when his capacity to contain a peaceful coexistence between the body and the artistes by scraping off corruption and instead building a strong institution that promotes and caters for the issues and the rights of the artistes is in question. Despite the hurdles ahead, Dr. Ezekiel Mutua is optimistic that the future is bright.
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