18 April 2018

Kenya: Not Welcomed - Doubts Cast On Koffi Olomide's Planned Tour

Photo: Koffi Olomide/Facebook
Koffi Olomide.

Congolese star musician Koffi Olomide's planned concert tour of Kakamega during the forthcoming Devolution Conference hangs in the balance, as his controversial past conduct comes back to haunt him.

Olomide was deported from Kenya in July 2016 following an ugly incident at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), in which he of assaulted one of his dancers.

Controversy has also erupted over the invitation of the renowned band leader, composer and singer with the Kakamega County government and promoters denying they invited him.

On Monday, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, who first broke news about Olomide's planned visit, had asked Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa to intervene and have his tour cleared.

ALLOWED INTO COUNTRY

Mr Oparanya asked Mr Wamalwa to raise the issue with his Internal Security counterpart, Dr Fred Matiang'i, to have the musician allowed into the country to perform at Kakamega's Bukhungu Stadium.

"Our people love Koffi Olomide's music and it will be very exciting if he will be allowed to come and perform at Bukhungu to entertain guests attending the devolution conference and Lingala music enthusiasts in the western region," said the county chief.

Mr Wamalwa, who was being briefed on the progress of preparations for the conference, promised to follow up the matter and ensure that Mr Olomide and his band members are cleared to travel to Kenya.

But Mr Mwenda Njoka, the spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, said the organisers of the trip were required to appeal for a lifting of the ban on the musician.

"Please, talk to the organisers and the Koffi team and ask them if they got the ban lifted. The onus is on Koffi Olomide to apply for the lifting of the ban and not the government," said Mr Njoka.

A Nairobi-based promoter, Mr Jules Nsana, who had been linked with the planned tour by Olomide, declined to discuss the issue, referring us to the county government.

But Kakamega County head of communication, Mr Dickson Rayori, insisted the musician's trip was being organised by his promoters.

'NOT SPEND ANY MONEY'

"The county government will not spend any money to bring Koffi to Kakamega. In fact, the county will earn revenue from gate collections and the hiring of the stadium for the live performance by Koffi," said Mr Rayori.

The issue of who would pay for the travel and accommodation expenses for the musician, has dominated social media after the county government announced that Koffi would be arriving in the country to perform during the devolution conference.

Mr Rayori dismissed as speculation reports indicating that the county government had allocated Sh20 million to pay the musician and foot his expenses in Kakamega.

Mr Olomide was arrested and deported with three of his band members aboard a Kenya Airways flight to Kinshasa as he attempted to clear himself over allegations of the assault of his band member. He spent the night at the JKIA Police Station.

As the saga unfolded, the musician's lawyer, Prof George Wajackoyah, claimed at the time that his client was treated "like an animal" by Kenyan police.

On Tuesday, Prof Wajackoyah could not be reached for comment.

VISA REVOCATION

Health Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki, who was then serving in the Youth and Gender Affairs docket, recommended the revocation of Koffi's Kenyan visa.

The artiste had arrived in the country for a grand concert at Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi, but his arrival was hit by controversy after he was caught on camera kicking one of his dancers at the JKIA. The clip of him kicking dancer Pamela went viral on social media, angering many Kenyans who called for his arrest and deportation.

The concert was cancelled.

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