A local Uganda singer has accused President Yoweri Museveni of stealing his Another Rap song, and demanded Shs5 billion in compensation. Ugandan singer, song writer and producer Richard Kawesa has claimed the copyright to the famous song ‘Another Rap’ belonging to H.E President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
Through his lawyers Muwema & Co. Advocates & Solicitors, Kaweesa has written to Museveni demanding to be compensated with Shs5 billion for his work on the project.
In a letter titled, ‘Re: Copyright Remuneration for the ‘Another Rap’ Song’, dated 30 October 2018, addressed to the President, Kawesa starts by giving a brief background as to how he came to work on this particular project.
Kawesa met President at State House Entebbe in October 2010 while launching his ‘am Ugandan’ campaign, an event at which Museveni was chief guest.
“In the spirit of patriotism communicated through impactful music, our client organized and launched the ‘I am Ugandan’ campaign which was help at State House, Entebbe, on the 9th October 2010 at which event you were the Guest of Honour,” reads the letter.
It was then that Kawesa suggested that he could make ‘Mpenkoni’ a hip hop track to make the President more famous. Although Museveni didn’t fully appreciate the possibility of Kawesa making him more famous through music, he nonetheless gave the go ahead.
‘Subsequently, our client through the production house of Fenon Records together with a team of producers and some engineers assembled by him, added a blend of signature melodies to words picked out of your speech and further infused them with additional studio voices for the chorus. The transposition gave birth to a new song which became famously known as ‘Another Rap’.
As a sign of your endorsement of the project, you were later consulted on the final edit of the song before it was officially released on the mainstream and social media channels. The final edit of the song was sent to you under your instruction by email to the then Principal Private Secretary, State House, Ms. Grace Akello on or about the 14th October, 2010.” Kawesa reminds President Museveni.
The singer reasons thatafter ‘Another Rap’ was released, it became an instant sensation on the Internet, radio and dance clubs and thereby increased both his local and international brand recognition which commanded respectable attention from world renowned media houses like ABC News. The rap song also became a popular ring tone on all mobile telecommunication platforms.
It was after this that Kaweesa says Museveni took all moral and economic rights to the said song and even registered its copyright with Uganda Registration Services Bureau without recognizing him and his band’s rights as author, director and producer of the song.
“Most importantly, the registration was also procured without remuneration and /or compensating our client and his team for work done”.
Kaweesa worked on the song together with Steve Jean, Henry Kiwuwa and Robert Segawa who he says need to be paid for their efforts in producing the song as it is legal just and equitable.
Kaweesa insists that the original creation of the song is properly and ideally his and is copyright protected under the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act, 2006.
According to Kaweesa, because President Museveni authorized the creation and production of the song, it amounted to commissioned work which attaches a liability for payment on his behalf under the law.
Kaweesa however states that he doesn’t want to take away the copyright ownership of the song from the President at this stage and therefore will not be seeking the cancellation of the copyright registration which is in Museveni’s names, unless it becomes necessary.
Considering the profile of the song, Kaweesa has since demanded Shs5 billion. He also wants Shs500 million as legal fees. “Taking into account the novelty and profile the song gained, our Client demands in this regard, a onetime payment in the sum of Ushs. 5,000,000,000/= (Uganda Shillings Five Billion) plus Ushs. 500, 000,000/= (Uganda Shillings Five Hundred Million) as our legal fees this far.”
The letter ends with Kaweesa reminding Museveni that under Article 98 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, he as sitting president enjoys immunity from legal proceedings before advising him to treat this letter as an invitation to amicably settle and consider resolving the matter in an orderly manner that promotes hard work, innovation, intellectual property rights and rule of the law.
Kaweesa and his lawyers await a response from Museveni.