National Culture Forum (NCF) and all its member associations within the Culture and Creative Industries in Uganda have on Thursday, 31 March 2022 paid tribute to the late Rt Hon. Jacob Oulanyah, the former Speaker of Parliament.
Oulanyah’s body is expected to arrive at Entebbe Airport on Friday, taken to Parliament on Tuesday and later a state funeral at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds. He will be laid to rest at Lalogi, Omoro District on April 8.
The members who were led by the Vice Chairman of NCF, Charles Batambuze paid their last respects to the fallen speaker and later signed the condolence books at Parliament.
In his condolence message, Batambuze said the creative sector, fondly remember and hold in high esteem, the Late Right Hon. Jacob L’Okori Oulanyah for modernizing the Copyright Act, 2006, which he moved as a private member’s Bill.
‘’We remember him for his meticulous sense of fashion, specifically his trademark bowtie- all these are products of the Culture and Creative Industries, some of them local products while others acquired through cultural exchange. He has also been hailed for encouraging Members of Parliament to research and debate. This we believe was born out of his own love for the written word in books, journal articles and other reading materials that fed his appetite for knowledge. This he clearly exhibited in his oratory skills, confidence and quality of debate’’, said Batambuze.
Batambuze added that Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah courted the arts and many people in Uganda remember him for his campaign theme song, Yoleng performed by their member Romeo Odongo.
He said the late enjoyed the music as he did the dance, having a unique appreciation and taste for the dances from his cultural background.
‘’As an industry, especially the performing arts, the creative sector is probably one of the few still under colonial era laws. For example, some of the most important old laws include: The Uganda National Cultural Centre Act 1959 under which the National Theatre and Nommo Gallery are managed. The Stage Play and Public Performance Act, 1922’’, he noted.
Batambuze asserts that these moribund pieces of legislation, although important, need amendment or repealing to truly create an independent Uganda where the creative sector has been fully taken over by Ugandans that are enormously contributing to national development.
‘’Without his passion and commitment to use his legislative platform to leverage the creative sector, we would probably still be operating under the Copyright Act 1964. The current Copyright legislation incorporated new provisions including: the Office of the Registrar of Copyright; Copyright Information Centre; Collecting Societies and criminalized infringement of Copyright. Without these provisions, it is impossible to collect and distribute royalties earned by artists and writers from performing right, exhibition and reproduction of their works both locally and internationally’’, he further noted.
It should be remembered that the Covid-19 lockdown on the sector that lasted for 2 years, exposed glaring gaps and weaknesses in the collection of royalties.
The National Culture Forum-NCF and stakeholders appealed to Parliament to honour the memory of Right Hon. Jacob L’Okori Oulanyah by amending the Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act, 2006 to incorporate: i. Relevant provisions that domesticate the so called WIPO Internet Treaties to enable Ugandan digital works enjoy reciprocal protection and royalties globally; ii.Provide for a Private Copy Levy on gadgets used in copying, playing and storage of copyright protected music, literature, films and art without authorization. This we have estimated will yield Shs 68 billion which would be the highest investment that government has ever extended to the creative sector. iii.Provide for fair remuneration of artists from the revenue generated by CRBTs-Caller Ring Back Tunes.
Batambuze revealed that presently artists, who own the content, earn about 6% of the total collections which is an indicator that someone is unfairly exploiting them.
‘’Our friend, the Right Hon. Jacob L’Okori Oulanyah, has run a good race. We celebrate his life. We believe that his soul has been welcomed in heaven by the heavenly band in recognition of his love, passion and support for the arts and the entire creative sector while he still lived. You see, musicians are the only professionals that work in heaven. May His Soul Rest in Eternal Peace’’, Batambuze added.