By Ivan Mwine
several musicians under their umbrella body, the Uganda Musicians Association (UMA) have ganged up against fellow musician Joseph Mayanja aka Jose Chameleone, whom they allege is hatching up a plot to scheme for money that is to be dished out to artistes under the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) project, which is headed by Gen. Salim Saleh.
Trouble for Chameleone started on Thursday when he announced that he had started up a new musicians’ umbrella body known as the Uganda Musicians Federation (UMF), which he said was to help artistes in the country lobby for support from the government.
However, Chameleone’s act of announcing a new umbrella body has since sparked off fury from musicians under UMA, who have since rejected his federation, saying it is a quack organisation with ulterior motives.
Members of UMA led by their president Cindy Sanyu and Secretary General, Phina Mugerwa aka Masanyalaze, have since called upon all musicians in the country to reject Chameleone’s federation and desist from being part of its operations, insisting that UMA is the only umbrella body for artistes in Uganda that is duly registered with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and recognized by government.
Cindy’s camp has reportedly started going around telling whoever cares to listen that Chameleone’s UMF will not represent any musicians who partake in its operations, because it is not legally recognized and hence can’t do any lobbying for them.
But Chameleone insists that a federation is bigger than an association, which means that UMA is under his UMF and that both organisations have the same agenda; which is to lobby support from government for performing artistes.
We have since learnt that musicians and performing artistes in Uganda are set to receive over Shs3.8Bn from government through Operation Wealth Creation as funds to help them cope up with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s economy.
However, the question of who will share how much and which musicians will benefit or not has since sparked off in-fighting amongst them.
It is this in-fighting over who will take the lion’s share that is said to have prompted Chameleone to defect from UMA and start up his own UMF, such that when the money is released, his organisation and the musicians registered under it can also partake in the sharing, instead of letting all the money go to UMA, where they say chances of benefiting from the funds are slim.