The publicity committee of the Musicians Union of Liberia has announced that the inauguration of the union newly elected officials is scheduled for Saturday, March 23, 2019, at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium.
The upcoming inauguration comes nearly after a decade and a half of the union’s outgoing president, Cecil Griffiths, whose administration overstayed its constitutional mandate of three years by not holding an election after three years as its enshrined in the union constitution.
MULIB’s President-elect, Sammy Gboguy, a former record label owner and a reformist, has vowed to reform the music industry by working with the relevant government agencies to create a functional intellectual property regime to ensure that artists benefit from their creations.
“The bedrock of any institution is its legal framework,” Gboguy told the Daily Observer in an earlier interview. “In the case of the creative sector, its bedrock is intellectual property protection; without a functioning IP regime, there can be no music industry.
“As it stands, about 95 percent of Liberians get their audio and audio-visual entertainment illegally. The streets of Monrovia and other counties are washed with pirated works being sold openly. We will also work robustly with the relevant government agencies and our counterparts in the collective societies to ensure the setup of a collective management organization (CMO) in order to alleviate poverty among musicians,” Mr. Gboguy said.
Other “profound and radical” reforms Mr. Gboguy has promised to undertake to include bringing the high gender gap in the music industry, which has made women seriously underrepresented in the Liberia music industry.
Mr. Gboguy, won the union’s elections 256 votes strong, beating veteran rapper Rokenzy G. Smith (also known as Mr. Smith) who got 45 votes. The victory makes him the union most powerful president in decades by virtue of the fact that, not only die he get 85 percent of the vote, but his party cinched all the other administrative positions of the union.
“Before next week, we will begin a change of the union’s political regime, which will be a peaceful and steady political transformation. But the transformation will be profound and radical because it will close the inequality gap and the lackadaisical attitude among government agencies who are supposed to protect the intellectual property rights in the country.
The union is “putting into place strong measures to fight graft, nepotism and insecurity and marginalization which rocked the outgoing administration for years,” said disc jockey J-Mark, the union’s publicity chairperson.
The induction ceremony of the union’s elected officials will be performed by veteran Liberian journalist and founder and publisher of the Daily Observer newspaper, Kenneth Y. Best. Best, who wrote the only book on Liberia’s Cultural Policy, published by UNESCO Press (1971), said he is grateful for the invitation and has a few (not many) nuggets of wisdom for this new generation to leaders at the helm of the Musicians Union.