Koffi Olomide, one of Africa’s most popular singers, has been given a three-month suspended prison sentence for assaulting his producer. The rumba star, 56, was arrested after a fracas on Wednesday at a hotel in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Correspondents say the courtroom was packed to see the star, who leads the Quartier Latin band. Olomide this year denied charges of raping three of his dancers in France. The altercation with his producer, Diego Lubaki, was over a debt of 3,000 euros ($3,680, £2,345), the court heard.
Mr Lubaki said he wanted to drop the charges, but the judge continued the trial. “He wanted to withdraw charges in favour of social peace and peace between him and the one he calls his ‘big brother’,” one of his lawyers is quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.
The court convicted Olomide of assault and battery but acquitted him of malicious destruction to property, after the hotel room door was damaged in the fight. The music he plays is known as “soukous”, which comes from the French word secouer, meaning to shake, and its dancers are renowned for their erotic moves.
Like other Congolese musicians, he is known for his extravagant lifestyle and flashy outfits. Born in 1956, he won a scholarship to do a maths degree in France. On his return to the then-Zaire, he joined the band of musician Papa Wemba, initially as a songwriter.
He later struck out on his own and in the 1980s his soukous style gained popularity around Africa and he has won several Kora All Africa Music Awards. However, his career has not been without controversy and the raunchy performances of some of his songs have been banned in some countries.
He sang in support of DR Congo’s President Joseph Kabila during the 2006 election campaign, angering many of his fans in the opposition. Olomide has battled to hold successful tours in Europe since then, as opposition supporters disrupt his concerts, the BBC’s Patrice Chitera in Kinshasa says. BBC