Tanzania: Musician receives death threats for political song

29 October 2013

Tanzanian hip-hop artist Nay wa Mitego has been receiving death threats following the release of his new song ‘Salaam Zao’ (‘Greetings’) in August 2013. The rap song’s lyrics are said to have been detested by a powerful section of the population.


“They are sending text messages to try silence me. I received the first death threat last week and reported to police station immediately,” Nay wa Mitego (real name: Emmanuel Elibariki) told Freemuse.

The message read: “You will not see the end of this year and if you do you will see it while behind the bars.”

Nay wa Mitego has also received other threatening messages which he posted to social media immediately in order to appeal to his fans as he trusts that is where his protection is.

‘Salaam Zao’ audiofile on

Renowned for his hard talk music touching socio political issues, Nay wa Mitego has been reported to face lots of pressure and intimidations demanding that he change his music style, failure to which he may face “fatal consequences”.

‘Salaam Zao’ – like its predecessors, ‘Nasema Nao’ (‘I am addressing them’) and ‘Mziki gani’ (‘What kind of music’) – is a song loaded with what Nay wa Mitego believes is life’s reality. He mentions names of politicians and popular names in the entertainment sector. He sends greetings to the President Jakaya Kikwete through his son Ridhiwani to make sure he resolves about the resistance against new gas exploration in southern Mtwara region. He wants all legislators who “dose in the house” to get his message.

He also sends greetings to big shots in the entertainment sector who in his view are misbehaving in many different ways – from exploiting musicians to corruption.

“Hizi Salamu ziende kwa Madam Rita na bongo star search.
Mshindi analipwa nini mbona kama magumashi?!
Namuona Walter Chilambo kapigika km zamani,
haji ramadhani kachoka yupo kitaani. Nauliza milioni hamsini zao anazila nani,
acheni ubabaishaji wekeni mambo hadharani?”

“Greetings go to Madame Rita and Bongo Star Search. What does the winner gets, sounds like brainwashing?
Can see Walter Chilambo is as haggard as before
Haji Ramadhani is worn out in the streets, with nothing. My question is whom did the 50 million prize benefit?”

Apart from intimidations, Nay wa Mitego says he has seen various attempts to silence him – such as inviting him to be business partner with firms and people he criticizes.

“When I released ‘Salaam Zao’, a number of friends shunned me. They did not want to be associated with me for fear of being attacked.”

Nay wa Mitego maintains that the threats will never stop him from composing songs about what he thinks is right:

“I am within my constitutional boundaries. I have not violated any law and therefore nothing can stop me. The constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania is my biggest companion,” he said while posing with the booklet for a photograph.

“It is a struggle. One needs to really be strong and cunning to be able to express innermost thoughts through music especially if that music is to touch serious issues. You can’t walk away with it easily if you want to talk about truth that touches powerful people,” said Nay wa Mitego.

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