8 February 2019

Liberia: Musicians Union of Liberia Gets New President

'We will alleviate musicians of poverty,' says MULIB's President-elect, Sammy Gray Gboguy

The Music Union of Liberia (MULIB) has elected Sammy Gboguy and host of other individuals to steer the affairs of the union for the next three years.

Mr. Gboguy, a former record label owner, emerged winner of the union's election held recently with 256 votes beating veteran rapper Rokenzy G. Smith (also known as Mr. Smith) who got 45 votes.

The MULIB president-elect, who will lead the union until 2021, takes over from Cecil Griffiths, who had been president of the Union for nearly a decade. The Griffiths administration was rocked by allegations of graft, nepotism and insecurity and marginalization.

In a statement sent to LIB Life, Mr. Gboguy said as the union's new president, his priority is to work with the relevant government agency to create a functional intellectual property regime to ensure that artists benefit from their creations.

"The bedrock of any institution is its legal framework. In the case of the creative sector, its bedrock is intellectual property protection; without a functioning IP regime, there can be no music industry.

"As it stands, about 95 percent of Liberians get their audio and audio-visual entertainment illegally. The streets of Monrovia and other counties are washed with pirated works being sold openly. We will also work robustly with the relevant government agencies and our counterparts in the collective societies to ensure the setup of a collective management organization (CMO) in order to alleviate poverty among musicians,' he added.

Gboguy explained that one major priority area for his administration has to do with the lack of music business knowledge among several musicians, which continues to limit the potential of most Liberian artists.

"We will focus on addressing issues of poor content quality by setting the bar through policies, education, system building, and access to funding. We will initiate different short, medium, and long term programs that create a system through which nothing but best quality Liberian music and entertainment reaches our local and international audience," Mr. Mr. Gboguy added.

Mr. Gboguy further said upon taking office, he will embark on nationwide stakeholder engagement to ensure that Liberian music gets first preference in the Liberian music and entertainment space.

He added: "We shall use our strength and influence to shift the national perception when it comes to the importance and benefits of Liberian musical heritage, as well as ensuring that we have at least 70% mandatory airtime on all radio and TV stations by legislation."

This year's MULIB elections mark the first time in more than 12 years that union has witnessed transfer power from one elected president to another. The outgoing president, Griffiths, has been at the helm for at least eight years and, on numerous occasions, has failed to organize elections as stipulated in the union's constitution.

MULIB election was conducted by the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, which has oversight responsible over the union.


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