Most old musicians in Ghana are referred to as BBC (Born Before Computer) and by implication, the oldies do not appreciate things concerning IT and how they can capitalise on them to improve themselves or enhance their work.
Computers and other technological devices perhaps distinguish the old from the younger generation of musicians and that impression is what I had at the back of my mind when I attended the maiden press conference of the Interim Board of the Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO) last Thursday.
The organisation is known for its large number of elderly musicians.
But I was surprised to observe that GHAMRO was very much in touch with social media platforms and operations in the day-to-day running of the organisation.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Linkedin and YouTube have been created for questions and suggestions and interactions, Enock Agyepong, a member of the board told the meeting.
Friday, July 11, 2014 will still remain a day that most musicians especially Nana Kwame Ampadu, and 99 other musicians in Ghana would not forget.
On that fateful day, an order of the Human Rights Division of the High Court presided over by His Lordship Kofi Essel-Mensah J. ruled that, the then executive of GHAMRO led by Carlos Sakyi, should step aside for a new five-member interim board to take over the affairs of the organisation.
The new five-member Interim Board members appointed comprised Nana Aboagye Da-Costa, a musician and traditional ruler and Chairman of the Interim Board, Kwame Nsiah Apau popularly known as Okyeame Kwame, as the PRO and Enock Agyepong, music publisher.
The other two are Dorothy Habadah, a State Attorney and representative of the Copyright Office and Kow Sessah Acquaye, a State Attorney and representative of Attorney General.
Their mandate, according to the ruling, was to take charge of the body’s affairs for the next six months before fresh elections are held.
Even though the High Court has kicked out Carlos Sakyi and his cohorts from the GHAMRO office, it appeared that the problems and divisions that bedevilled the old GHAMRO persists.
Before I proceed, let me quote what a music rights owner who pleaded anonymity told me after the rather chaotic press conference. He said, “Ignorance among many musicians is turning into arrogance that is now attaining stupidity levels. In fact, if this orchestrated insanity is not stopped, no organisation will take us serious.
“There is nothing wrong in disagreeing with each other but Ghana is polarised to the extent that it’s extremely difficult for people to make meaningful arguments without unnecessary digression or make sense without showing their divisive nature. Ghana is divided to the extent that almost everything is politicised.
“Apportioning of blame is the order of the day. Everything is about the two political opponents; nothing good comes out from them so far as the other party is concerned. This level of politicisation has well-eaten into every fibre of our society.”
The above summed up exactly what happened during the GHAMRO’s press conference. Instead of the occasion being used to celebrate the historic moment, it turned out to create tension and chaos rather than the purpose for which it was organised.
At the event, a great chunk of the country’s older musicians showed their disregard for the rule of law when they openly lambasted a court ruling, created chaos and nuisance.
It was just shameful to see musicians who should know better exchange unprintable words and point fingers at the people the court had put in place to steer the affairs in their interest.
Had it not been the kind nature of the Interim Board members, who kept their calm in the face of attacks and insults, perhaps what would have happened would have been very shameful and an indictment the music industry.
Until last Thursday’s chaotic press conference, the five-member had been working to ensure that they met their deadlines and also follow the directives of the court ruling.
When the invitation was sent out to invite people to the press conference, the impression was created that, it was going to be an Interim Board and media interaction but it turned out that, the invitation had also been extended to musicians, some of whom were not in support of the court ruling.
According to Ekow Micah, Akosua Agyapong and other musicians who were obviously not in support of the situation, the Interim Board did not have the right to do the work reserved for a substantive Board.
They argued that, since it was the first time the Interim Board were meeting the press, they thought the concentration should have been on when and how fresh elections would be held. According to them, any other agendas apart from the one concerning elections were a waste of time.
One may ask: couldn’t they have waited for a perfect time and a much better platform to voice out their grievances and launch their attacks? What happened was shameful.
Like Bob Marley said, “I don’t stand for black man’s side, I don’t stand for white man’s side, I stand for God’s side.”
Like myself, I’m not on anyone’s side, I’m on the side that will see that things are running smoothly and transparent for all the musicians.
By Ebenezer Anangfio / Graphic Showbiz