Zambia’s musician and activist Pilato, also known as Fumba Chama, is among the African artist facing government censorship over their activism and music.
Pilato, who was last week released from jail, had been accused of targeting President Edgar Lungu and his ruling Patriotic Front (PF) ministers with his song, Koswe Mumpoto, which translates to ‘rat in a pot’ in Bemba.
Pilato was forced to flee the country following threats from Lungu’s supporters upon releasing the song in December. The government had ordered him to stop singing the song, which was also taken off the air. He was also allowed to perform in select concerts under heavy surveillance or denied permits entirely.
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He went to South Africa in January but returned to Zambia in May only to be arrested at the Kenneth Kaunda Airport.
He was out on bail $3000, and two sureties. He is also required to present himself to court for the hearings.
The musician has come out to say that he’s unfazed by the arrest and would continue with his activism against corruption.
“Nothing physical can change, intimidate or compromise my convictions. [The imprisonment] was terrible but necessary for my mind. I’m more inspired now than I was before my imprisonment; I am more passionate. Our prisons are examples of what hell is like. If you’ve been in a Zambian prison, you’ve been to hell,” he told Music In Africa.
Pilato has received support from many factions including Amnesty International and fellow musician Thomas Mapfumo, who was forced to flee Zambia in 2005 after releasing a song decrying the state of affairs in the South African nation.
Pilato is expected to be back in court on 25 June.