Following criticism from several artists for failing to keep his promise, Sports and the Arts Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba stated on Thursday, December 7, that he had already disbanded the money to the Kenya Film Commission (KFC).
Speaking to Waza News, the CS did not explain why the money promised to the winners of the 12th edition of the Kalasha International Film and TV Awards had yet to be paid, only stating that it had been distributed to KFC.
The government had promised all winners Sh200,000 in prize money, but they have yet to receive it.
"The prize money is safely with the Kenya Film Commission and they have assured me that they are already releasing that money. So absolutely no need for concern," he said.
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KFC CEO Timothy Owase confirmed that the money had been received, saying that it was confirmed that they had the money with them.
"Yes I have the Kalasha money and we will start disbanding it from next week," he said.
This comes after several artists chastised Namwamba and the commission for failing to keep their promises.
On Wednesday, singer-turned-actor Sanaipei Tande spoke out against the CS over unpaid award money.
The Mfalme wa Mapenzi singer chastised the parties involved for having "no prize money and no communication" for a year.
"….but 167M set aside for #KNT renovations in bids to develop and nurture NEW talent! What of the existing talent?" she asked on her socials.
Fatuo Hassan, the 2022 Kalasha Award winner for Best Costume Design, also called out the CS for breaking his promise in November 2023.
"I have not received the Sh200,000 they promised, they sent us an email and we sent our bank details but I have never seen the money. I won Best Costume Design for the film Ayaanle. At least they remembered the department that they always pretend is not important but they can't stay without art," she said.
Many are frustrated and wonder why their hard-earned accolades have yet to be financially recognized.
Based on the prize money awarded during the 11th edition of the Kalasha Awards, the winners expected at least Sh100,000 each.
However, the amount doubled by the CS who attended the awards ceremony.
"We have doubled cash rewards for winners in all 39 categories this year as the first step in ensuring pesa mfukoni for artistes," Namwamba declared during the awards ceremony.