The Herald (Harare)

4 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Mhere a Victim of Jealousy?

Mathias Mhere is a new gospel artist on the local music scene. ( Resource: Mathias Mhere - Favour

HAS Mathias Mhere made himself a target of envy and jealousy after a meteoric rise with his album, "Anoita Minana"? So far, four musicians have claimed ownership of the hit song "Favour", which is

topping the charts. Yet, one wonders where the other musicians claiming ownership to the song have been before Mhere released the album in 2011.

The gospel musicians who are laying claim on the song are relatively unknown in the music circles, giving credence that they might be fly-by-night singers.

While all the other artistes claim that they released the song between 2010 and 2011, Mhere has managed to produce his 2009 DVD that features the song.

Also, it makes sense that there might have been a mix-up on the part of the producer between Mhere and Kudakwashe Kunyavapa, since they were recorded by the same producer, but it remains unclear how Evidence Jiri, who is at Metro stable, ended up recording the same song.

What is striking is that apart from a slight difference in some lines, the beat and the chorus are the same.

While Kunyavapa recorded the song in 2010, Mhere produced a DVD of the song in 2009 during his wedding featuring some members of AFM Church.

Zimbabwe Music Rights Association distribution and documentation manager Climate Munyikwa said Kunyavapa failed to prove that he composed the song prior to 2009.

"The wedding video proved that Mhere played the song in 2009 but Kunyavapa failed to do so.

"Mhere might have failed to record the song early because of lack of funds," he said.

Munyikwa said Zimura had resolved that each of them would get royalties from their songs depending on airplay.

"Favour" is the only enjoyable song on Kunyavapa's 2010 album while Mhere's 2011 release "Anoita Minana", has other hits such as "Vimba NaJehovah", "Chipostora" and "Areka", which has made him a household name in gospel.

Mhere, however, maintained the song was his.

"We go to the same church with Kunyavapa's friend and I suspect that he leaked the song since we used to sing it during praise and worship.

"I even told the friend that the song was going to be recorded in 2011 and I think that is when he gave it to Kunyavapa who then rushed to record the song," says Mhere.

Contacted for comment, Kunyavapa remained adamant that it was his song.

"I recorded the song and did the video in 2010 and I don't know what Mhere is talking about," he said.

Evidence Jiri also claims that she wrote the song in 2010 and produced it in 2011.

"This guy has a lot of explaining to do. It is impossible for different artistes to compose and record a song the same way," said Jiri.

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