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Four One One

UNMF Associations Taskforce calls for fairness and transparency

Ugandan musicians in a meeting

There is an ongoing stalemate between the leadership of the Uganda National Musician Federation (UNMF) and a number of musicians’ associations that are being persuaded to register under the federation.

The current misunderstandings have prompted different stakeholders in the industry to call for fairness and transparency in the whole process of registering musicians’ associations under the newly created federation.

Last week, at least 13 recognised associations denounced the federation led by musician Ediriisa Musuuza alias Eddy Kenzo and were reluctant to comply with it. This matter pushed Eddy Kenzo and his team to have a meeting with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development to be helped out but they were instead sent back to deal with existing associations according to reliable sources.

The federation then opted to register Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) but this publication learnt that their certificates were rejected. Sources further revealed that the UNMF leadership then rushed to make name reservations for 11 small associations that were registered by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB).

“The Kenzo Community-Based Organization (CBO) associations were rejected by Okopa Patricia of the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) during the meeting on June 5, at the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development (MGLSD). She stated that CBOs are not of national character and therefore cannot be part of a national federation. Additionally, she pointed out that these associations are primarily structured based on geography and do not align with the principle of considering the value chain,” said Geoffrey Ekongot, the acting spokesperson of the UNMF Associations Taskforce.

In a statement issued by the UNMF Associations taskforce calling for a fair and transparent process, the task force expressed their strong disagreement with the smuggling in of 11 new associations without subjecting them to the same scrutiny applied by the National Culture Forum (NCF) which is the apex body for all associations and federations in the arts, culture and creative industry in Uganda.

The task force also demanded that the 11 associations be properly vetted and verified by the NCF. They stressed the importance of ensuring a level playing field and fairness for all associations involved in the formation of UNMF.

“Furthermore, the task force asserted that it is only fair for all associations to agree to the resolutions and Memorandum and Article of Association (MEMARTS) once all registration documents have been filed. They reiterated their commitment to following due process and ensuring that the decisions made are comprehensive and inclusive,” said Mr Ekongot who also doubles as the Programmes Director for Uganda Musicians Association (UMA).

The statement also explains actions taken by the 13 value-chain associations that declined to federate with UMNF. According to the explanation, their actions are a result of the directives provided by the Ministry of Labour, Gender and Social Development Commissioner identified as Juliana Akoryo regarding a letter to Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) requesting the reservation of the federation name – Uganda National Musicians Federation Limited. The prerequisites outlined in Commissioner’s letter include:

“Having a draft resolution or minutes of the meeting on the consensus to federate, clarifying the decisions stated in the Memarts of the federating agencies, verifying the status of the Certificates of Registration of the associations agreeing to federate, ensuring that the different associations across the music value chain are represented in the federation and confirming whether the Chairpersons of the federating associations have requested recommendation letters in this regard.”

Regarding the aforementioned prerequisites, the task force clarified the following according to Mr Ekongot;

  1. Only the 13 associations possess a resolution and signed minutes of the meeting on the consensus to federate. The 11 associations presented by Kenzo at the meeting have not undergone independent verification by the NCF.
  2. Only the 13 associations have drafted and signed Memarts as federating agencies. The 23 associations collectively have not engaged in the process of drafting, discussing, and endorsing memarts.
  3. The National Cultural Forum has independently verified the status of the Certificates of Registration of the 13 associations.
  4. The 13 associations cater to the different segments of the music value chain, as recommended by the Commissioner. However, the 10 newly created associations are solely defined by geographic location and fail to encompass the entire value chain.

With the current inconsistencies and misunderstandings between the associations and the leadership of UNMF, what is left to be seen is whether the new federation will be successful in fulfilling its aim which is to unite musicians and promote their interests by bringing together all associations in the industry under one umbrella.

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