Kenya’s Ohangla songstress Maureen Achieng popularly known as Lady Maureeen says Tanzania Swahili dialect was by and large, the reason she spent Easter holidays in Jail.
Lady Maureen was for two weeks locked up at a Tanzanian jail together with her 13 band members. They were dramatically arrested and charged with performing in the country without a permit
“Most of their Kiswahili is hard to understand,” she told Daily Nation adding that the judge convicted them without being given a chance to defend themselves.
“They read the charges and we raised our hands to explain how our passports were taken. But the magistrate did not understand us. They didn’t give us a chance to defend ourselves. We were taken back to the cells and later to prison,” she narrated.
The magistrate handed the 14 band members a one year jail sentence or Sh35, 000 fine.
Lady Maureen accused a Tanzanian-based female promoter of her mishaps. She said they had a deal she would perform in Mwanza for two days for Sh 400, 000.
She signed a performance deal in March and went ahead with her band to Sirare border where the promoter only paid Sh80, 000.
She also collected their temporary passports and proceeded to the border post to clear them and never returned the passports.
“We crossed over and no policeman stopped us. It appears the woman was evading paying $100 for each of us plus a work permit.”
After performing in Mwanza where about 3, 000 people turned up, she asked for her dues and the promoter made it as if she was going to collect it. She disappeared and never picked any of her calls.
A while later, immigration officers knocked into her hotel room and her ordeal started there. She was duped and framed.
So far, eight band members have been released. Fellow musicians have fundraised to secure their release. Six of them are still in jail though.
She said that Royal Media Services Chairman S.K Macharia has pledged to bail them out on Monday.
A visibly downhearted musician said she is considering getting into music and dumping music because it has not done much for her.
“I’m considering getting into business and quitting music. There is nothing music has helped me with.”