The Government has insisted that Uganda’s youngest ‘Lugalow’ rapper Patrick Senyonjo alias Fresh Kid must remain in school and issued guidelines regarding the development of his music talent. It was, however, clarified that the Government has no intention of stopping the seven year-old from developing his talent in music.
Fresh Kid, a Primary Two pupil of St Agnes Infant and Primary School Kawanda in Wakiso district, was yesterday introduced to the state minister for youth and children affairs, Nakiwala Kiyingi. This came days after the minister issued a warning to his parents and managers over the child’s public performances and commercial gigs.
The minister was concerned that Fresh Kid, the singer of the Banteeka and Bambi hip hop songs, was too young to engage in music commercially and instructed his promoters to put a halt to his career. Her statement, however, attracted objections from the singer’s fans who criticized the minister for blocking the boy from reaping from his talent.
Yesterday’s meeting was held in Nakiwala’s ofice at the gender ministry headquarters in Kampala and was attended by Ssenyonjo’s parents, Paul Mbogo Mutabaazi and Madrine Namata; managers Fred Kabajjo and Francis Kamoga and the permanent secretary, Pius Bigirimana. Bigirimana said according to the Children’s Act, anyone below the age of 18 is regarded as a child and belongs to the State.
A child has a right to protection from physical, sexual, psychological and any other harmful act. He explained that all children have a right to development and must be supported to grow, have education and become better citizens.
Fresh Kid turned up in his school uniform and knelt down as he greeted the minister. The boy told the minister that he was actually studying, although he could not remember the names of some of his teachers.
Bigirimana clarified that although Fresh Kid has a talent in music, he must be guided.
“We must ensure Fresh Kid goes to school, but be allowed to sing during his free time such as weekends or holidays. He must, therefore, be able to balance schooling and music,”Bigirimana the permanent secretary
He directed the parents to prevent the boy from engaging in harmful practices such as taking waragi (local gin) and performing in bars and that he must be protected from child abuse. Nakiwala assigned Jane Stella Ogwang, the ministry’s principal probation and welfare officer, to work with Fresh Kid’s parents, teachers and managers to draw up a programme, which will guide the boy while he performs at music shows.
The ministry’s experts, who also attended the meeting, advised that the working age in Uganda is 14 years. They said even when the boy performs at weekends, he must not be allowed to enter night-clubs or places where people are drinking alcohol or where they use inappropriate language and abuse of substances.
The boy’s father, Mutabaazi, wanted the minister to allow Fresh Kid to perform at special shows that fall on weekdays for the sake of the promoter and sustaining the family, but this was rejected.
“I am a poor man with seven children; two girls have already dropped out of school, so we all look forward to benefiting from this boy’s earnings,” he said, pleading that if possible, the minister should support him by sponsoring one of the girls.Fresh Kid Father
“As the custodian of the law, I cannot allow that to happen, the child must not be given the burden of looking after the family,”