Tanzanian rapper to run for president

Nov 03, 2017

Lucy Ilado

Tanzanian hip-hop artiste, Nickson Simon, aka Nikki wa Pili, will run for president in 2020.

The rapper, who holds a Doctorate in Developmental Studies, is a familiar name in the East African country and has been working with non-governmental organisations in holding various youth- and community-based conferences. He has also been a strong critic of a number of Tanzanian musicians, who he says are often used to spread political propaganda.

“In previous years, art was used for revolution unlike in recent years, and because of censorship, artistes have to hold on to the order of the day in order to protect their welfare, especially finances,” Simon said during the Mwalimu Nyerere Professorial Chair festival at the University of Dar es Salaam in June.

He has also been politically vocal on social media where he openly shares his opinions about Tanzanian President John Magufuli and his government.

In late June, after Magufuli announced that no pregnant schoolgirl would be allowed to attend classes before giving birth, the rapper took to Twitter to praise Tanzanian women.

“The only reason we are alive is because a woman chose to give us life and for that I will always give them a gold star,” he said.

The rapper told a Swahili online publication on Thursday that he would run for president as an independent candidate. He also alluded to several points that would be included in his presidential manifesto, saying he would give local governments the power to make decisions about their respective regions. The central government is currently responsible for all policy and decisions concerning Tanzania’s 31 regions.

On governance matters, Simon said he would neither consult with the main opposition party, Chadema, nor with human rights groups to solve socio-economic issues. Instead, he would directly liaise with various stakeholders.

“Those who will be allowed to question the government on economic and social matters will not be political parties but rather associations of farmers, public service workers, teachers, doctors and so on,” Simon said, adding that no refugee would be considered a foreigner in his country. – Music In Africa

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