“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning,but anyone can start today and make a new ending” Thats a quote i used on Monday the 18th when we held a strategizing meeting before the MCSK election on 20th June 2012. Congratulations Councillor Mongollo and Frasha for being elected into office. “With Great Power comes great Responsibility ” Here is the full Story of what transpired Wednesday the 20th by John Muchiri of The Nation Newspaper.
“Enough with the whining.” That seems to be what Kenyan artistes told themselves they decided to bring change to the Music Copyright Society of Kenya last week.
The MCSK Foundation will deal with social and cultural activities for its members.
These include medical cover, sponsorship, general allowances, among other things, explained MCSK chief executive Maurice Okoth.
For the budget committee, just like with the board of directors and management, there will be direct representation of musicians.
The committee creates the annual budget and also monitors expenditure.
MCSK administrators are still wondering what hit them. It all started with “Notice to members” adverts that ran in the dailies notifying members of the elections, which were held last Wednesday.
Artistes, who are members of the society, are hardly involved in the goings-on of MCSK.
But this year, on seeing the adverts, they began making calls to fellow members.
Reflecting the feelings of the industry, there was a huge turnout at KICC for a strategy meeting the Monday before elections were held.
Wednesday came and they were ready and speaking as one. Their revolution, if we can call it that, was about to happen at the Blue Springs Hotel.
The atmosphere became tense at the sight of the musicians — Nameless, Wyre, Wahu, Habida, Jaguar, Nonini, Mr Lenny, Ousman, Didge, Frasha, Bon’Eye, Gabu, MOG, Lady B, Mimmo, among others — with puzzled MCSK officials wondering what was going on.
They registered and gathered in the main hall where the meeting and elections were to be held.
Introductions aside, MCSK Nairobi region directors CDM Kiratu and Albert Gacheru acknowledged the presence of the “new” faces and all was cordial until the Nairobi organising committee chairman, veteran musician John Katana of Them Mushrooms, rose to speak.
“We are here to discuss the MCSK Foundation, the budget committee, general payment and the proposed amendments to the Memorandum of Articles,” Katana began. “There is nowhere in the advertised notice that says we are going to have elections today.”
The room erupted with a majority jumping to their feet to protest while others rushed on stage and grabbed the mic from Katana.
One member, comedian Mongolo, a nominated Nairobi councillor, was given a chance to speak.
“The next MCSK notice on the same page, published on June 8, 2012, in the local dailies also said that on July 5, 2012, there will be another meeting at Bomas of Kenya,” he read out. “The Bomas meeting, will confirm members of both budget and foundation committees, who will be elected on June 20, 2012, which is today. So I propose we hold elections today.”
His protest was met with cheers and chants and it took about one and a half hours before the two sides could agree on the way forward after advise from MCSK lawyer Richard Sereti.
Finally, it was decided that the elections would be held, since most members knew about it and some aspirants had already campaigned for seats in the committees.
There were six musicians running for seats. Two each were to be elected in budget committee and MCSK Foundation.
Those running for the budget committee posts were Francis Amisi (Frasha of P-Unit), singer Jane Nyambura and Njamba (James Wahome).
George Mwangangi (Mongolo), Wa Jane Mwalimu (Henry Njenga) and Mwangi Rurimi, were contesting for the MCSK Foundation seats.
It took about three hours before an elections team could be put together for voting to start. Police officers were brought into the venue to monitor the process.
Musicians who are also police officers, Alphamatone and Quachez, showed their police badges and joined their colleagues to oversee the polls.
After tallying, Mongolo and Wa Jane Mwalimu made it to the MCSK Foundation, while Frasha and Jane Nyambura made it to the budget committee.
This was indeed one of the biggest steps musicians have made to solve some of the chronic issues they have had with MCSK.
They got involved and voted for their own. Artistes have previously complained about mismanagement of funds at the society, yet they hardly show up for elections.
Big Ted, one of music industry’s top players, also lauded the musicians.
“This will not just impact MCSK but also government as far as music and arts are concerned,” he said. “We keep on complaining about how we are being oppressed yet we don’t do anything about it. Artistes made a very big step and I’m seeing change in the industry. Next step should be changing the board of directors and putting new faces.”
Maurice also looks at last Wednesday’s event as positive progress towards achieving accountability in the society.
“I’m encouraging members to get involved more, especially the new generation artistes,” he says.
Speaking to Buzz after being voted into the budget committee, Jane said that MCSK officials were puzzled by the large turnout and wanted to manipulate things.
“They knew very well elections were to happen today. Ballot boxes were ready in their offices as of yesterday,” said Jane.
So did MCSK know about the elections?
“The adverts clearly show that there would be elections today, only that they didn’t directly include that in the notice. I got to know about the elections last week at our board meetings, not earlier than that,” MCSK director Gacheru said. “I feel that those elections would have been done better if things were transparent from the beginning.”