5 February 2018

Uganda: Promoters and Managers Are the Threat to Musicians, Not Fans

Photo: Jose Chameleone/Instagram
Jose Chameleone.

While speaking at the burial of Mowzey Radio (Moses Ssekibogo) in Nakawuka last week, veteran musician Joseph Mayanja alias Dr Jose Chameleone vowed to deal with anyone planning to attack an artiste to cause harm or death.

While Chameleone was partly right about musicians' vulnerability, he missed the bigger picture. The attendant threat to Ugandan artistes are their so-called promoters and managers.

They are greedy and self-centred. Before the end of 2017, the GoodLyfe crew held their 10th anniversary concert with massive fan turnout. The sharing of the proceeds is only known to the promoter, manager and the musicians.

It is alleged that before Mowzey Radio's bar brawl, he was in contact with producer Washington after visiting Mowzey's construction site. And until the time of writing this piece, I had not heard or seen Washington give any account on how things unfolded.

[Editor: Washington this morning appeared on NBS TV and gave an account of what happened on the fateful day.]

It is only promoter Balaam Baruhagare, who wasn't even at the scene of crime, who has been telling the story. Mowzey is said to have been a regular at De Bar; the attendants must have known the deceased, duly able to give account of what happened.

In the current digital era, revellers have smartphones with them and would be able to Facebook live; record for reposting or take still images. But Radio's bar incident must be an exceptional one where none of that happened.

What is surprising, a bedridden Mowzey photo was secretly taken at Case Hospital and posted on social media! On March 31, 1995, in USA, Selena Quintanilla-Pére was shot and killed by Yolanda Saldívar, her friend and former manager.

Yolanda was accused by Selena for stealing money, hence paying the price by being shot in the chest. Two hours after the shooting, Selena was pronounced dead after losing a lot of blood.

Managers and promoters seal deals worth millions on behalf of the artistes/musicians. Some even break up after failing to fairly share the concert proceeds. Many Ugandan musicians are victims of the so-called promoters and managers' illegal activities such as drug and human trafficking.

For example, singer Pallaso paid the price when he was imprisoned in the US for drug trafficking and it cost him years and money to resurface back on the music scene.

Iryn Namubiru was hoodwinked with a package delivery and narrowly survived the Japanese jail for drug trafficking, thanks to political manoeuvres by big people back home.

Some are victims of drug addictions such as Jackie Chandiru, Cute Kaye, Keko and Maddocks Ssematimba. Female artists are silent victims of sexual harassment from managers and promoters in their endeavour to gain fame.

Promoters and managers who have attachments with journalists and media house managers side-line musician's coverage and airplay if they fail to meet their demands.

As nationals celebrate the life of Mowzey Radio, promoters and managers should be scrutinised over their greed for money, which has negatively affected musicians' livelihoods.

The Uganda Musicians' Association must be entrusted to vet promoters and artiste managers. Musicians should also involve lawyers while sealing their multi-million deals to avoid irregularities rising from irresponsible promoters and managers.


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