State Minister of Youth and Children’s affairs, Nakiwala Kiyingi continues receiving a backlash from Ugandans on social media over her move to block 7-year-old rapper, Patrick Ssenyonjo alias Fresh Kid from organizing and performing on music shows for monetary gains.
According to the Minister, labour laws in Uganda prohibit people under the age of 18 to work and should he insist on his performances, Fresh Kid is likely to face a juvenile prison.
“Uganda’s constitution Article 59 clause 56 line 8 restricts young children below 18 from being used for any financial benefits,” she said on Tuesday.
Said to come from a very poor family background where his two parents survive on roasting maize, Fresh Kid hit the music scene five months back and has been creating buzz on social media lately. The young star has a total of 3 songs and one music video so far.
Fresh Kid is said to have been identified as a potential musician by his manager Francis while performing in one of the bars in Luweero district. It is in the same district that he studied in a rural government owned primary school in Primary One last year before he relocated to Kampala.
He is reported to have been enrolled in Primary Two at St Agnes Primary School Kawanda where he reportedly studies during week days and performs on music shows at night and weekends.
But in the last two weeks, the ‘Banteeka’ singer has been hosted on different television and radio stations even during school hours.
This according to the Minister, should stop since he (Fresh Kid) was always busy working and missing school at a time his colleagues were learning in class.
Since his rise to stardom, a section of Ugandans have been concerned about why he should not focus on his education first. They say he equally needs basic knowledge and literacy if he is to push his talent beyond. However, others opine that since he possesses a talent from which he can earn, when many graduates are roaming streets unemployed, Fresh Kid does not need to be in school.
Some Ugandans have used social media to accuse Minister Nakiwala of issuing “authoritarian directives” instead helping the youngster to develop his music talent.
Below are some of the views from Twitter.
“We’ve seen Baby Gloria and the Ghetto kids on international platforms. They are still in school. Fresh Kid is being victimised for his innocent comment when he was asked about the leadership of the country” – T. Kitandwe.
“The Minister stopping Fresh kid from using his talent to earn should tell me if its better to go through useless years of Education after which people fail to find jobs that they turn into assassins and thieves like many educated youth are doing in Uganda today. Reason – No jobs” – Abima Derrick
“Children’s rights? Actually i think this isn’t the right time to talk about that as regards to fresh kid. Just see the pride the kid has at the age of his sincerely the best for him now is being taken back to school, be kept away.from media if possible then talent will catch up” – Alinaitwe Julie
“Performing in bars is not the issue in question but nurturing talent is. A total ban to Fresh Kid’s talent is totally wrong. Performing is just circumstantial and can be avoided unlike a total ban” – Village Chief
“Dear authorities, don’t kill this kid’s talent and breakthrough. Agreeably he needs education. Take him to an international school that would nurture his stardom, for it doesn’t need a genius to guess what our traditional schools & environment are going to do to him” – Ramadhan Ggoobi, University Lecturer
“On top of that, who told @nakiwalafk that fresh kid isn’t going to school, first she’s not paying his fees, secondly I’m sure she’s seen tens of street kids on Kampala streets but hasn’t taken efforts to send them to school” – Nizeye Brian
“There is no problem totally he can arrive perform and leave if R.Kelly did it why can’t fresh kid. But seriously whoever is wanting to ruin this boy’s break through is jealous because what is the problem with performing as he studies” – Divena.