Diamond Platnumz’s reaction to last month’s ban on 13 songs by the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has prompted the Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Harrison Mwakyembe, to caution the singer against attacking Deputy Minister Juliana Shonza.
“The minister for communication, heritage, art and sports is disappointed with comments made by musician Naseeb Abdul [Diamond Platnumz] on Times FM radio where he criticised the government for taking action to protect the morals of the country in regards to music. The decision to ban the songs was done as per the law and were not in any way assistant minister Shonza’s call,” an official statement issued on Wednesday reads.
“Diamond has to understand that Ms Shonza acted on behalf of the government. If Diamond has any complains or issues he should follow the right procedures laid out to address them rather than attacking and undermining a government official doing her job like he did to Ms Shonza in a very disrespectful manner.”
This comes after Diamond Platnumz publicly lambasted Shonza during a Times FM interview on Monday where he demanded that the deputy minister explain why his songs ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Waka Waka’ had been banned. He went on to say that the ban did not bother him since the songs were enjoying airplay outside Tanzania.
The singer said the government ought to have notified the artists before announcing the ban via social media.
“One person from nowhere – a minister for information, culture, arts and sports – made the decision to suspend our songs without cause,” Diamond Platnumz said. “You suspend my songs which I used millions of money to prepare. How much money will I gain from the songs on suspension? If they do not need me to perform my songs, which have been suspended, I can go abroad and live even in Kenya or any other country.”
In a response to Diamond Platnumz, Shonza said she would not indulge the singer’s comments. She said the ministry did not issue the ban and that the singer should follow the correct procedure by raising his grievances with the National Arts Council of Tanzania (BASATA).
After Shonza’s reply, a rather frustrated Diamond Platnumz posted a tweet in Swahili, which Music In Africa has translated for its English readers: “Why didn’t you write letters to the artists informing them of your decision to ban their songs in the first place? As for addressing the issues on radio and social media, you started it so enjoy the show,” he said.
The altercation between Diamond Platnumz and Shonza caused a social media buzz, which led BASATA executive secretary Godfrey Mngereza to defend the deputy minister by giving reasons as to why Diamond Platnumz’s songs were banned. He said `Hallelujah’, which features Jamaican group Morgan Heritage, was blacklisted because it discriminated on a religious basis.
“The song has words that touch religious beliefs of other people,” Mngereza said at a press conference on Wednesday. “’Hallelujah’ has some meaning in some religions and so there were queries with regards to touching the religion of others.”
On ‘Waka Waka’ featuring American rapper Rick Ross, Mngereza cited nudity as the reason for the song’s ban, which according to him is contrary to the country’s culture and traditions.
The issue also drew interest from the TCRA’s Andrew Kisaka, who announced yesterday that an investigation had been launched against Times FM on grounds that Diamond Platnumz’s interview was demeaning to Shonza.
Critics say the Tanzanian government tends to employ double standards, as international music videos containing nudity enjoy undisrupted airplay on mainstream media while local artists’ songs are banned.
Diamond Platnumz now has a total of three songs blacklisted by the TCRA. His song ‘Zigo Remix’ was banned in 2016.
Last year, Diamond Platnumz released ‘Acha Nikae Kimya’ (Let Me Remain Silent) in relation to the arrest of rapper Nay Wa Mitego. The song makes references to the government’s crackdown on Tanzanian artists.

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