The New Times (Kigali)

30 January 2013

Rwanda: MTN Cautions Salax Awards Organisers

After constant reports in the media of wrangles between musicians and Ikirezi Group, the organisers of the Salax Awards, Rwanda's premier music awards, MTN Rwanda, the sponsor of the event has come out and stated its position about the squabbles.

"MTN Rwanda has been following media reports (both in print and broadcast media) on the organisation of this year's Salax Awards. MTN would like to make it clear that officials are in discussion with Ikirezi Group and we have kindly asked them to put their house in order to avoid any doubts will put the credibility of the awards in jeopardy," said David Kezio Musoke, MTN's Public Relations Officer.

"There is no doubt that music in Rwanda has tremendously grown and this growth usually comes with numerous challenges. As a sole sponsor, MTN Rwanda does not only offer monetary support but also offers mentorship to Rwandan music promoters, music artists and brand ambassadors without being biased about their objectivity," he continued.

Musoke also revealed that they are yet to commit to this year's Salax Awards edition saying, "We won't rush to make a drastic decision of pulling out of the Salax Awards, but will work with the organisers to make sure the awards are a success and continue to grow with the industry."

Last week, Ikirezi Group, passed a warning that any shortlisted artiste who turned down the nominations would not be considered for future editions. In response to this warning while speaking to The New Times, Uncle Austin, one of the musicians who pulled out of the awards said, "I am not afraid of Salax Awards organisers."

Prominent musicians have reportedly shunned the Awards. Tom Close wrote to the Salax Awards organisers explaining he had pulled out due to both professional and personal reasons. The others have reportedly not written to the organisers officially.

This year's event is slated for March9, at the Kigali Serena Hotel.

MTN has sponsored the last two editions of Salax Music Awards and continues to work closely with several artists to promote the event. Musicians, Miraj, Mani Martin, Uncle Austin, Immaculet Babra Mugire and Jay Polly were last year made MTN brand ambassadors.

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