A section of local musicians are pushing for the revival of Musicians Association of Malawi (MAM), seven years after it was abolished in favour of Musicians Union of Malawi (MUM).
The group of musicians acknowledges they made a mistake by de-registering MAM without putting in a lot of thought and careful research.
Led by Khuza Rampi, Sam Smack, Edgar Kachere, Sangie, Atoht Manje, Uncle Lai and Beatrice Tengani, the musicians said according to the roles that the MAM and MUM play, they were supposed to be allowed to operate concurrently to harness the potential they both possess in promoting music in the country.
In an interview, Rampi said that in the absence of the association, music development has suffered as the union is not specifically focused on the finer needs of musicians in the country.
“If you can critically look at the roles of the two bodies, you will find that a union is more of a rights body than anything else. This, among other things, was overlooked when people proposed the abolishment of MAM,” he said.
Rampi, who is the interim general secretary of the group, said they have organised a meeting this Friday at Jacaranda Cultural Centre in Blantyre to lobby and engage more artists on the idea of revamping the association.
The Friday meeting, expected to have representation of members from across the creative industry, will also push for the establishment of the National Arts Council and the National Arts and Heritage Council (Nahec).
The last person to lead MAM was Reverend Chimwemwe Mhango who also oversaw the transition to MUM. Mhango was also the body’s first president. He said they considered a lot of factors when they changed from MAM to MUM.
He said: “An association is just a gathering of individuals with identical goals. A union goes beyond that as it is able to fight for you and make you recognised as a worker. When you are affiliated to a union, your bargaining power is bigger and the union has a mandate to look out for you.”
Mhango, who has since stepped down as MUM president, said much as everyone has a democratic right to form and belong to an association of their choice, it is important to look at the motives behind this push as some individuals are just power hungry.
Interim MUM president Gloria Manong’a said they cannot stop anyone from revamping the association but they should be reminded that MUM remains the body that is recognised by the government.