May 25, 2020

Rwanda Police says Online Concerts Not Permitted

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Rwanda Police Spokesman CP John Bosco Kabera

Following incident in which Police on Saturday night stormed a venue where a local music group was airing an online concert, it has now issued new guidelines.

At around 9pm, officers accessed a house in Kicukiro district in Kigali where Tuff Gang group was holding a widely advertised concert which was airing via YouTube. The concert had been promoted as a reunion of the ex-Tuff Gang group which included local award-winning rapper Jay Polly and three other former colleagues.

Now, Police Spokesman CP John Bosco Kabera says concerts streamed online are not permitted as per the measures in place to control spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“We did see the concert. Such concerts are not allowed. We have repeatedly highlighted that message in our communications on radios and televisions,” said Kabera at a media encounter on Sunday evening.

“Anybody planning to hold an online concert should desist, as it could cause them problems, their colleagues, and the Rwandan population in general.”

At the Tuff Gang concert on Saturday, police arrived as it had just got underway, with up to 1,500 people watching via YouTube channel MK1 TV. Inside the residential home it was being streamed, the room was packed with many other people including other singers, the band, other friends and different other groups of people.

All those at the venue were taken to the IPRC stadium where they spent the night, a feat Police has adopted for anyone found outside during curfew which starts 9pm to morning.

Screenshot of YouTube video from the concert where social distance was clearly respected

With emergency of COVID-19, all music shows as with all gatherings, have been stopped. It has left the entertainment industry dead in Rwanda. There have been less publicized online shows in past weeks.

Globally, singers are regularly holding online concerts to bring some sort of semblance of normality to their fans – all locked up in their homes.

It remains to be seen how the entertainment industry in Rwanda will survive going forward, with online concerts now deemed inappropriate.

Meanwhile, as of Sunday, the infection rate remained low, with just 2 new cases.

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