PPM’s Katsonga pays Mkasa K7m to drum-up support, discredit JB

Peoples Progressive Movement (PPM) president, Mark Katsonga has hired renowned secular musician, Joseph Mkasa to drum up his political support  with songs and discredit President Joyce Banda at a K7 million price-tag, Nyasa Times can reveal.

Mkasa has since released three singles, urging the country to nominate a business-minded president in form of Katsonga during 2014 tripartite elections, aside discrediting President  Banda’s  Economic Recovery Plan (ERP).

According to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Katsonga and Mkasa of which Nyasa Times has a copy, the artist will produce a five-track album at a cost of K1,074,000.00; five promotional jingles at K500,000, and hold 93 live performances to a tune of K5, 580,000, all totaling to K7,154,000.00.

The MOU, which runs from January this year to May 2014, reveals that Katsonga will pay the artist in installments, with K2 million paid on signing agreement, and the remaining balance to be paid in June, September, December 2013 and March 2014.

Katsonga: Presidential bid with Nkasa support

Katsonga: Presidential bid with Nkasa support

“It is a generally accepted fact that the elections of 2014 are the most anticipated and significant since the advent of democracy in 1993. This is so because among other things, it looks highly probable to most Malawians that for the first time, a `rank outsider` will have the greatest chances ever of making it to the presidency owing to the unique circumstances on the ground.

“For this reason, it is imperative for the PPM to take advantage and initiate some deliberate, ingenuous schemes for the purposes of positioning itself right in front among the lineup of potential candidates, especially in the eyes of the masses who determine the final result. This is what this project aims to achieve by preparing, mobilizing, and indoctrinating the masses through the medium of popular music. The choice of Joseph Mkasa is therefore both powerful and appropriate,” reads the MOU in part.

When contacted, Katsonga while confirming to have had talks with Nkasa about the project, feigned ignorance signing the K7 million MOU, arguing the artist is working in his favour for free.

Katsonga said: “There was that proposal that we can do a contract, but it ended there, there is nothing like a signed agreement. Nkasa is somebody I have known for long time, and I can say he is somebody who believes that I am the man to serve Malawi and lead it to prosperity after 50 years of hunger, envy and poverty”.

When asked about the just released songs, Katsonga who heaped praises on the musician, argued that Mkasa is fanatic who sings for or against any politician, and he defended him saying ‘things are not right in this country, of which I agree with him. He is not discrediting anybody, but highlighting the situation we are currently in”.

However, Mkasa who, at first feign ignorance of knowing Katsonga, confirmed signing the deal after being confronted about the MOU, arguing he did so because of money.

Mkasa further divulged that there were other deals that he has signed but could not disclose, arguing Katsonga and other people involved are better placed to comment on that.

Ndimasayina komwe kuli ndalama (I sign where is there is money), don’t you know that? Why don’t you ask about the other K20-million deal? I don’t need to explain here whatever I get from him (Katsonga),” responded Mkasa before cutting off the line.

Among other things, according to the MOU, Mkasa is expected to prepare and mobilize Malawians to begin to look critically at the lineup of candidates with a deliberate focus on the PPM presidential candidate; and build a strong case for PPM presidential candidate as obvious best choice for Malawi in 2014, highlighting his strengths and advantages in the manner and language most understood by the masses.

The artist is also mandated to help transform the PPM manifesto and messages into simple and clear public favorites through potent yet attractive jingles that will be loved and enjoyed by the masses, and to be a key tool for wooing and mobilizing the masses and spearheading the PPM presidential bid.

Mkasa is also instructed to be available for interviews on various radio music shows to explain and sell his `stand`; and exclusively perform live together with his full band at public/campaign rallies and/or road shows/functions as designated by the PPM and its appointed officials.

Katsonga is expected, according to the MOU, provide Mkasa with all information, publications and party materials necessary to assist in the creation of his productions; facilitate timely payment of all monetary dues as per budget provided.

“To facilitate timely payment of contract deposit and periodic installments as per budget provided until end of project. To facilitate timely payment of Artists upkeep, i.e. lunch, dinner and accommodation allowances when on the road. To provide transport logistics to and from all meeting venues,” reads part of the MOU.

Meanwhile, Mkasa has released three singles, Kulira kwa Amphawi, Wanunkha Malawi and Opani Yehova, in which he is disputing President Banda’s claims to the nation on economic reforms and  for being a self-centered person who does not listen to critics.

The singer urged the country to vote into power a business person in May 2014, citing Mozambique and Zambia as some of African countries that have put in power businessmen. And he even promised to disclose, in the next songs, the name of the eligible business person to rule the country.

Mkasa, who has eight albums to his credit, has a knack of traversing through politics with melodic invectives that has helped to draw him large following. At the height of President Bingu wa Mutharika’s rule, prior to the 2009 elections, he did a composition called  Mose wa Lero.

In the song,  Nkasa likened Mutharika to the biblical Moses for ending so many afflictions such as hunger that affected Malawians through the fertiliser subsidy, among other achievements .

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