The Reverend Chimwemwe Mhango last week announced his resignation from his position as president for the Musician Union of Malawi (MUM).
Mhango was barely five months old into his second three-year tenure when he dropped the bombshell about his imminent departure. In a brief communication, addressed to the secretary of the MUM Board of Trustees, he cited personal reasons for his decision.
By all indications, his communication gave away the fact that all is not well in the MUM house. Even echoes from elsewhere suggest it is not a house at peace within itself. Admittedly, Mhango indeed said there were other issues which he would only talk about later.
MUM is family which is bleeding, and no effort can paint a different picture. Rev Mhango has breathed music for the better part of his life. From his days as a member of family group, Mhango Salvation Singers, he has been a musician.
His passion for the art is something which cannot be questioned. Therefore, somebody who holds the art in such high esteem, the privilege to head a musicians’ body was probably one his most honourable responsibilities that could fall his way in his lifetime.
But I am not here to praise his service towards the art or to crucify him for any lack of it. Today I am here to try and make heads and tales of the forces that have heavily threatened the unity that was otherwise supposed to be exemplified by the musicians’ union body.
From the grapevine, murmurs suggest misappropriation of funds by the previous committee could be the bone that is causing all the contention and in-fighting that characterised the Rev Mhango’s second tenure, preceding his eventual resignation.
Because of the alleged financial leaks, the other block believes is the reason why the incumbent treasure is being sidelined. Suggesting that even no proper handovers were made with the predecessor apparently for fear of being found out.
If indeed there are elements of truth in these allegations, then it is such a sad and unfortunate development. And if so, then proper steps need to be taken swiftly before the apparent cracks widen and the block disintegrates further beyond redemption.
The board of trustees should read the signs. It is only in rare cases that people walk away from positions solely on personal reasons. There must be something which is boiling within the set-up. And luckily the leads have been provided, it would be folly if they tried to sweep all these under the carpet.
But again, if the forces against the leadership of Rev Mhango were driven by nothing but petty jealousy then it is equally shameful. At times thriving establishments have suffered from the whims of some individuals whose egos are larger than life.
If the vision and aspirations of MUM are to be derailed by the desires of a few selfish heads, then let the system get rid of those and maintain the running of the body on its right course. Such individuals deserve no space and place in any progressive set-up.
But to meet both two scenarios it will require the impartial and mature guidance of the body of trustees. If need be let them call for an Extra-ordinary General Meeting (EAGM) so that both differing sides can be brought at one place and be heard.
Any institution that is at war within itself cannot advance. And the longer this situation persists, the deeper the damage will go. We all know several individuals have toiled to have the body where it is now, and it would be very unfortunate if no effort is invested to save it from itself.