A lack of interest in affairs affecting musicians came to the fore after this past weekend’s affair wherein the Lesotho Music Rights Association (LEMRA) held an elective annual general meeting that was held at Manthabiseng Convention Centre in Maseru on Sunday.
The elective meeting took place three months since members of the outgoing executive committee announced their resignation due to a lot of infighting instigated by some members of the association being unsatisfied with the operations of the committee.
However, no sooner was the conference done than, some of the artists, most of whom are not even member of the LEMRA, went on social media and started bashing and pointing fingers.
As is the general stance with the youth on issues especially administrative and political affecting them, most of the local musicians especially in the more urban genres are young people, and most of them are non-participatory and at worst ignorant about issues affecting them and are not members of LEMRA.
A day after the elective conference which installed a new 11-member committee was done, one James Kabi also known as ModdawOaMochini, wrote an open Letter to the LEMRA calling it an association of proud people, hypocrites who are only there to serve their own interests using the association’s name.
“I say to you Lesotho musicians you are hypocrites and you use people for your own gain. Just yesterday I came across a video of Sirschaba and Tmech at Convention Centre, to my surprise I later learned that there were elections for LEMRA new executive committee. I quickly checked my mail to see if I may have missed the memo as I am a member of the association but found nothing,” part of the letter said.
The vocal artist said he had been on the side of the outgoing committee especially the President SirSchaba whom he said whenever the other members were attacking he would call him and they would work to find solutions. He maintains that he was rather surprised that with the elections he was not told together with other members.
ModdawOaMochini did not shy away from confirming his claims in an interview with Newsday Arts the following day, where he insisted that the association is always led by self-serving people who only care about enriching themselves and their friends.
“The problem is that the people who have been at the helm of the music rights association are very selfish and only care about what goes into their own pockets not what the association can do for all members,” ModdowOaMochini said.
He accused the outgoing president of using the social media of the LEMRA to advertise his own material and his company’s products.
“SirSchaba is one person who has for the longest time been using the official Facebook page of LEMRA to push his own agenda, his company that sells music online is forever advertised on the page and that can tell you of the kind of person he is.
“Another challenge is that the executive would always call us but only where it suits and serves them but when we have issues like now where we were not made aware of the elections, they suddenly say we are not members. But I can tell you now that even those who are members did not get the official invitation notifying them about the AGM,” he said.
Meanwhile, ThuloMonyakeaslo known as Tmech, the outgoing public Relations Officer (PRO) dismissed all the claims made by ModdawOaMochini. He said the artist was not aware of the AGM because he is not a member.
“The claims and allegations made by Moddaw are not true, he is not an active member because he did not renew his membership hence he is not on the database. All our active members knew about the AGM and elections,” Tmech said.
He condemned the claims made by Moddaw calling them baseless and driven by anger that is misdirected and misplaced. Being part of the outgoing committee which had in fact resigned, Tmech is one person who has been vocal over and advocating for artists to join the association as it would be beneficial to them.
He bemoaned the fact that most musicians want to always be ‘spoon-fed’ when it comes to issues that impact them.
“It is not our fault that people are not making any effort to be in the know about issues that affect them and their own association, things like knowing the constitution, knowing when and how to renew membership. And our artists act like they are not aware that the association is led by a voluntary committee so it’s not like we are eating anyone’s money,” he stressed.
The LEMRA is an association that was founded in 2008 as the primary representative of musicians in Lesotho, to advocate for the protection and upholding of music rights in Lesotho. Its executive committee is elected every five years.
The new LEMRA executive committee 2021-26
Chairperson – Tšepang “Nyakanyaka” Makakole
Deputy Chairperson – Paul Lewake
Secretary-General –‘ Mamatebele Mokoenehi
Deputy Secretary – Keneuoe Ntlhoki
Treasurer – Mosito Sentšo
Public Relations Officer – Ramosa Bosiu
Deputy Public Relations Officer – Tlelima Selialia
Additional advisory members of the new committee are Mantša Mohale, Francis Ntlhoki, Lempe Moliasetlei and Thom Raakoti. 5