Congolese singer Tshala Muana has been arrested. Her producer Claude Mashala said the musician was detained by National Intelligence Agency (ANR) officers over a controversial song titled ‘Ingratitude’ which she released online last weekend.
Speaking on phone from Kinshasa on Monday evening, fellow musician Lofombo Gode said Ms Muana was arrested in Kinshasa amid speculation over the ‘deeper meaning’ or interpretation of lyrics which appear to have rattled some government officials.
“Though no names are mentioned in the song, it was seen as intended to send a different message,” he said.
Relatives of the popular musician said agents from the ANR took her away in Kinshasa, saying she was wanted for questioning.
His companion and producer, Claude Mashala, indicated that the artiste, 62, was “treated like a criminal, regardless of her state of health.”
According to him, the spies were unhappy with her latest song which lampoons President Felix Tshisekedi for being ungrateful to his ‘mentor’, having received everything and turning his back on him.
The name of the mentor is not revealed in the song but it is perceived to be Joseph Kabila, the President’s predecessor and who helped Tshisekedi form a government after arranging a coalition.
The coalition, however, has been having wrangles, putting all government institutions on the edge.
The singer is a public supporter of the former and the PPRD (People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy), his party.
In the song, the singer evokes the story of a man who shines with a lack of recognition after having benefited a lot from his mentor.
Supporters of Tshisekedi, currently at odds with Joseph Kabila’s camp, believe the song is targeting the president.
“Who would refuse to honor his commitments to the former president?” they pose.
In a context of open crisis between Kabila and Tshisekedi, supporters of the current head of state have drawn a parallel between the artiste’s song and the current political situation. The controversial song earned its author threats from supporters of the president.
The government did not immediately clarify on the detention but has since banned the song from playing on local radio stations.
Several women protested in Kinshasa over the arrest of the veteran singer who was still being held by police on Monday evening.
Ms Muana, who is also popularly known as the queen of mutwashi, for the waist gyrating traditional Baluba community style, is among the artistes who was perceived to be very close to former DR Congo President Joseph Kabila, having been nominated as a Member of Parliament by his father Laurent Kabila.
The legendary crooner Tabu ley Rochereau also served as a nominated MP and minister in the Kabila government.
Ms Muana is known for her hits such as Karibu Yangu, Cicatrice, and Tshibola among others.
The singer is also popularly known as “Mamou Nationale” for her role in women activism in DR Congo.