Famous Liberian songwriter, vocalist and performer, Abraham P. Kallon, popularly called Detrench, has called on the leadership of the Liberian Music Union – including Cecil Griffiths and others – to respect the constitution and go to elections after more than 8 years in power.
They were charged with the mandate of steering the affairs of the union for three years but have gone more than twice beyond.
Mr. Kallon explained that article 6, section 6.1.2 of the constitution says the supreme authority of the union shall be vested in the national congress which shall convene every three years and the union shall elect its officers through county and national congresses.
“The constitution calls for two term limits, totaling six years if only you are re-elected,” he added.
“The best thing that Mr. Griffiths can do to keep his broken legacy is to carry us to election. His leadership for the past year has failed the union,” he said. “I have seen bad governance and lack of transparency in his leadership. All I see is the negative aspect of the union not the positive one under the leadership of Mr. Griffiths.”
“I have spoken with Mr. Griffiths and he agreed with my request for election to be postponed until December, when funding is made available to carry us to congress. My fear is that his comments are not guaranteed,” Kallon said, adding, “the union has been receiving funding from the government and its internationals partners. So why should funding be a problem?”
Kallon complained of the lack of financial reports from Griffiths’ leadership and that they have even failed to advocate for the benefits of musicians, because the leadership lacks sincerity. Musicians are not benefiting from collective bargaining, contracts and other benefits and rights of members.
He said there is a need for the convention so as to enable artists to call on the congress for the election. It will ensure an equal playing field for all musicians.
But some artists are calling for an immediate election and have begun a social media campaign for their plight to be heard.
Detrench, who is also eyeing the presidency, says potential young artists have been excluded and marginalized over the years and majority of them are now in support for the call for election.
“It is not because of my ambition to contest that I’m calling for election,” he insists, “but the point is to have a legitimate, vibrant music union that represents artists.
“We will continue to engage Mr. Griffiths and his co-officer constructively. Even if they refuse to go to congress today, we will still use the diplomatic means to channel the call for election.”
He expressed fear that the union could be forced into political disaster if the leadership fails to listen to the plight of its members’ call for an election.
Responding, Mr. Griffiths said, “I don’t have anything to say now but… we will come up with an official statement later.”