Two local rival unions, the Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) and the Musicians Union of Botswana (MUSUBO) are on mission to separately resuscitate themselves, an idea which veteran DJ, Sidney Baitsile has expressed uncomfortable about.
Both unions currently operated by interim committees have embarked on a recruitment drive competing for local musicians to join their sides. The unions have both embarked on a mission to resuscitate their structures. MUSUBO recently decided to bounce back after the Advisory and Arbitration Council dissolved BOMU’s past executive committee following their 2018 elections that were marred by controversy. An interim committee led by Otsile Ramorwa was thereafter appointed and tasked to rebuild the leadership of the association.
In an interview with The Patriot Lifestyle BOMU’s interim Vice President, Phemelo Lesokwane indicated that elections for their different district committees are currently ongoing in preparation of their Annual General Meeting (AGM) which is scheduled to be held on the 15th of August this year.This is when they will elect an official executive committee. According to him, the association has also by now registered only about 70 members around Gaborone area. The artists he said include the likes of Franco, Culture Spears, Lista Boleseng and Jeff Matheatau among others. Quizzed about the low number of artists registering with them Lesokwane blamed it on the past administration. He says artists still have doubts about BOMU.
“The reason why artists are not registering in large numbers is because they have doubts as to whether BOMU will work for them this time around. They know that BOMU was all about music awards and cared less about their welfare,” explained Lesokwane who however expressed hopeful that more artists will come on board as time goes on.
Their rival on the other hand have already pushed ahead with registering other artists and also negotiating with different stakeholders for the betterment of their members’ welfare. MUSUBO’s interim Secretary General, Raoboy Mpuang told this publication that their membership is already around close to 300 and they are looking to register more artists. The association has the likes of Ashley Gops and Tumza among their other renowned registered artists.
Mpuang explained that they have previously halted MUSUBO from functioning in order to give BOMU chance to operate without some sort of competition. He says it however took long nothing working out at BOMU hence their decision to resuscitate and move on with MUSUBO. Mpuang says with the progress that they have already made to grow the union they are currently at a point of no return but to rather welcome competition from BOMU.
Commenting on the matter, Baitsile fears that with the two unions operating separately chances are that they may not be effective as opposed to when they could have formed one union. The veteran DJ says he is not sure as to whether artists will get a great representation from the the two unions working differently.
“Ideally they should be one and i am uncomfortable with them being like that because chances are that they are going to compete for people and attention and they will end up confusing stakeholders,” he feared.
Calling on the two unions to up their games Baitsile said it is time like this (of covid-19 pandemic) when artists need a strong and firm advocacy that speaks for them and to also enable the industry to work favorably for artists. Baitsile says he is not pleased by general representation artists have been getting from their unions. He highlighted that BOMU has in the past did very little to benefit artists concurring that the association only concentrated to much on their annual awards.
“If they can both function well separately affirming that they will work hard and not sabotage, talk dirty about each other to stakeholders so let that be and hope that it will work out.”