Uganda's president at centre of music copyright dispute

A ROW has broken out over a bid by Uganda's president to copyright a "rap" he performed that has become a smash hit on radio stations and in nightclubs.

The ageing Yoweri Museveni took to the stage at two party rallies in recent months and performed two children's folk chants from his birthplace in western Uganda - Naatema akati (I cut a stick) and Mp'enkoni (Give me the stick). Record producers then began mixing the performance with hip-hop beats and audio of Mr Museveni telling the crowd that young people had told him about rap music.

An application lodged by his lawyers for exclusive rights to the song has drawn fierce criticism from opponents. "Nobody, not the president, not me, has the right to copyright folk chants," Mwambustya Ndebesa, a history lecturer at Kampala's Makerere University, said. "They should belong to everybody."

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The east African country is due to hold elections in February.