Shamu has failed musicians

webster_shamu_sportHARARE - Curtains are closing for local musicians as record companies and music promoters are failing to support them. (Pictured: Webster Shamu)

The Zimbabwe Union of Musicians (ZUM) represents singers, protecting them from occupational hazards. But the association has been struggling to stay on its feet. Such challenges led to the appointment of the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity Webster Shamu, also patron of the association.

This strategic decision was meant to give the body a concrete voice and serious appeal. As patron in a high office, Shamu is expected to use his position and influence to develop the waning music industry, a role he has decisively failed to execute. Shamu is expected to uphold the rights of musicians and use his office to lobby for the government to set aside a budget in its monetary reviews to lay a solid foundation for musicians and arts in general.

It should be noted that today the music industry has become one of the country’s largest employers at a time when unemployment rates are high. But so far Shamus role has been merely ceremonial he gives speeches at album launches and the funerals of musicians. He may have empowered some musicians through national galas, but it should also be noted that the beneficiaries are only those who sympathise with Zanu (PF).

He could do more. If he sees piracy as a disease crippling the music industry, then we demand to know what mechanisms he has devised to stop it. Last year controversial veteran musician Hosiah “Kwachu Kwachu” Chipanga raised this issue. He said, Whilst we applaud minister Shamu for being our patron, he should also realize that he does not only represent us as beings. He also should guard jealously against our products (music) which has been subjected to piracy and unfair sales allocation by recording companies. His high office should come in handy in addressing some of the challenges musicians face today. – For feedback and suggestions for future columns email [email protected]

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