Tanzania rapper told to get degree before criticising government

Tanzania’s Arts and Information Minister Harrison Mwakyembe has dismissed a new song by rapper Roma Mkatoliki which criticises the government, saying the musician “lacks the academic credentials” to question state policies.

“You can criticise but you should have the knowledge and education to qualify to be a critic. You can’t citicise someone like me, for example, if you have primary school education. I have four degrees,” Mr Mwakyembe told journalists.

Roma, whose real name is Ibrahim Mussa, is known for his political activism – his new song is called Anaitwa Roma, Swahili for “They call him Roma”.

In it he lambasts the government’s decision last year to deploy the army to buy cashew nuts from farmers as a way of trying to force middlemen to increase their prices. The policy, critics say, did not work.

Roma also criticises President John Magufuli’s push to revive the national airline Air Tanzania, saying it would have been better to improve healthcare.

He also criticises Tanzanians for not joining a call for protests against President Magufuli’s policies.

The music video has got more than 500,00 views and 3,000 comments since it was uploaded on YouTube three days ago.

Many of his fans are praising him but some are worried about his safety, telling him to be careful.

The musician was kidnapped and held for three days, along with other artists, in 2017.

He told journalists after he was freed that he had been tortured.

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