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Kenyan artist Juliani takes protest online to host concert amidst lockdown to ‘Fight inequality, Fight COVID-19’

12 MAY 2020

With a lockdown and a curfew in effect in Kenya because of the COVID-19 pandemic, hip hop artist Juliani, in partnership with Kenya Fight Inequality Alliance, will stage an online concert dubbed One Day on Sunday, May 17, 2020, 8:00pm (GMT+3) to rally Kenyans against inequality.

The online concert comes amid rising concern amongst Kenyans and people across the world at the inequality in our societies laid bare by the virus[1]. Lockdown measures have come with issues of unemployment, loss of income, hunger, police brutality, gender based violence and a lack of water, healthcare and education for the most vulnerable. According to the Alliance, while public health measures are needed to contain the pandemic and save lives, it is crucial governments also tackle the inequalities blighting people’s lives. 

“The concert taps into rising sentiments amongst Kenyans and people across the world that as COVID-19 halts daily life, it is a chance to re-think and demand badly needed changes in our societies. Although we are under lockdown, it will not stop people from demanding an equal world. With the majority of Kenyans already struggling in a highly unequal society, the pandemic has painfully exposed the need for real action that will come from people demanding change,” said Antonia Musunga, national coordinator for Kenya Fight Inequality Alliance.

“Now is the time to demand a Kenya and a future that works for everybody, especially the most vulnerable”, said Juliani.   

“This is an opportunity to get people to pay attention to the issues I care about and my passions. I believe this is an opportunity for Kenyans to reimagine the future of Kenya as we want it to look, as a society where we all can live in full humanity,” Juliani added.

The government must change its spending priorities to fight inequality in this period and beyond. For example, currently Kenya spends three times as much on debt payments as it does on funding public health[2]. The Alliance released a statement in March to demand the Kenyatta government’s response to the pandemic must be in accordance with human rights and prioritise the needs of the poorest Kenyans over bailouts for big corporations. 

“COVID-19 has exposed the harsh truth that inequality was already a ‘pre-existing condition’ in our society, and the One Day concert is a way for us to collectively demand structural change. In the middle of the pandemic, we will continue holding our leaders to account. The response to this pandemic must include fighting inequality.” Musunga said.

The concert will be broadcast live on Juliani’s Youtube channel, Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as Fight Inequality Alliance’s Facebook page. Juliani and Kenya Fight Inequality Alliance are asking the audience to demand the Kenyan government make changes that fight inequality. Juliani invites you to join the conversation using the the hashtags #fightinequality and #JulianiLive.

“I grew up in a society where I had to rely on my imagination to escape the reality of my surroundings. It did not matter how talented you were; to succeed, you needed political connections,” Juliani said. “We need to fight for that One Day when all of us have the opportunity to live a dignified life. One Day is NOW! Let’s make it happen.”###

 

Notes to editors:

[1] Coronavirus: Most Africans ‘will go hungry in 14-day lockdown’. 6 May 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-52557464

[2] Who cares for the future: finance gender responsive public services. 13 April 2020. https://actionaid.org/publications/2020/who-cares-future-finance-gender-responsive-public-services

[3] Kenya Fight Inequality Alliance (FIA) is a coalition of organisations – including rural, youth, labor, climate justice, women’s rights, urban, artists, land rights and social justice movements fighting inequality in Kenya. We work to close the gap between the rich and poor that adversely undermines access to social services and the protection of fundamental human rights. Kenya FIA was founded in 2017 to collectively advocate for a more equal and fair society. The most affected; women, youth, persons living with disability, indigenous groups, and the urban poor are in the frontlines to challenge the status quo. We come together to achieve the just, equitable and sustainable country we need.

[4] Interviews in Dholuo, Sheng, Kiswahili, Kikuyu, Kikamba and in English are available. For more details: 

For Kenya media enquiries:

Antonia Musunga, National Coordinator, Kenya Fight Inequality Alliance

antonia.musunga@fightinequality.org | +254720061742

 

For international enquiries: 

Angelica Carballo Pago, Media Coordinator, Fight Inequality Alliance

angelica.pago@fightinequality.org | +63 949 8891332