General Kenene says prison authorities are allowing him to record a new album outside jail because they know he is a celebrity. And Kanene, whose real names are Clifford Dimba, says being jailed is not the end of the world but instead a learning period. Kanene, who was speaking during the donation of some foodstuffs to Chimbokaila Central Prison by various musicians on Christmas Day, said he is currently working on an album that was meant to give people an insight into prison life.
Zambia Association of Musicians president Njoya Tembo, Maiko Zulu, Jonto, Peace Preachers and actress Zodwa Khumalo were among the artistes present during the donation. “Right now, I am writing songs for my album because I want to release an album titled ‘General Kanene in prison’. I have already recorded three and I have even featured Petersen on one of the tracks. With the songs I am recording, I want to sensitise people about prison so that they have an insight into what happens here. With the support of the prison, I am able to record my music at Jerry Fingers Studio.
Since I am a celebrity, can I surely run away?” asked Kanene as he burst into laughter. “Most prisoners are stigmatised when they come out of jail and people even get scared to get close to them because they fear that they will be robbed. The prison then and the prison now are different. The prisoners of today even have classes. People learn from grade 1 to 12 and some even go up to university level and get degrees [in prison].” Earlier this year, the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court found Kanene guilty of defilement. He was later sentenced to 18 years imprisonment by the Lusaka High Court.
“It is easier to get help when you have representation because when I was in court, the only organisations present were NGOs who mostly were against me and I felt alone, but at least if you have support from your fellow artistes. Every person needs representation, even from church or work. It is easier to get help because you have people backing you,” said Kanene. And actor Owas Mwape, who was recently jailed for forgery and uttering of false documents, seemed perplexed and out of place but thanked the artistes for their gesture. And Petersen has written an open letter to acting President Dr Guy Scott to consider extending his prerogative of mercy to Kanene, saying he too is human like George Mpombo and Steven Masumba, who were released on Christmas Day. Petersen stated that Kanene’s family was languishing in poverty following the musician’s incarceration. “I would like to register to your attention that apart from the political fraternity, we as musicians have a brother inside whom I personally believe contributed positively to the country by educating and sensitising morality in Zambian life,” stated Petersen in his brief letter.