HARARE - Acting Arts and Culture minister Walter Mzembi on Friday called for the arrest of local promoters for the recent joint Babyface and Toni Braxton concert at the Borrowdale Racecourse.
The promoters allegedly disappeared without paying $15 000 performance fees to the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ).
Bernie Bismark, one of the local promoters wrote to the media before the concert.
“We have been awarded the attached concert as BD Music in association with Canoc South Africa to host the multi award-winning artistes Toni Braxton and Babyface.”
Mzembi ordered the search and arrest of the promoter when he officially launched sungura singer Peter Moyo’s second album in Harare.
The minister was bitter that after negotiating with the NACZ so that the promoter would pay performance fees after the showcase, hence have the show on, he was taken for a ride.
“The promoter is on the run and I am calling on NACZ to look for this promoter and get him arrested,” ordered Mzembi, adding: “And they were promoting Babyface, who looks like me!”
Mzembi hit out at what he termed “bogus” promoters saying they were bent on soiling other good and professional promoters.
“We do not want such promoters because they will spoil the image of other promoters who are doing well.”
The minister also called on immigration and the Nacz to revise its performance fees for visiting foreign musicians saying these were high and prohibitive.
A music promoter at the event said Mzembi’s call for the reduction of fees for visiting artistes was overdue.
He said: “For one to bring in an international musician you have to pay $500 for work permit, Nacz demands five percent of your total budget, then you have Zimra demanding some 15 percent and you also have to pay fees to the censorship board. All these take at least a fifth of the entire budget.”
The promoter said the aforementioned fees were too much as one would not even have factored fees charged by the Zimbabwe Republic Police for security at venues.
Meanwhile, Mzembi said musicians are natural brand ambassadors of any nation.
“Witness in the last week how Brand USA was amplified by the inaugural performance of Toni Braxton and Babyface which I thoroughly enjoyed, followed by Davido of Nigeria who set the nation ablaze with his scintillating performance, judging by our girls falling all over him.
“It was really a scramble for Nigeria, coming as it was — a prelude to the successful hosting of another Nigerian celebrity, billionaire Dangote.
“Our own Oliver Mtukudzi affectionately referred to as Tuku recently did us proud when he was honoured by Drankensburg Promotions, South Africa for his contribution to the South African music industry.”
Mzembi urged Zimbabweans to buy Peter Moyo’s original CD of Mabasa aMwari.
“My ministry is pleased that Tongai Moyo was not buried with his music but had mentored his son Peter to carry on with his legacy.”