Lucky Mensah And NPP Trade Blows

Ghanaian musician Lucky Mensah has warned the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) to stop using his song ‘Nkratuo’ for campaign purposes.

The song, released a few months after the National Democratic Congress (NDC) assumed office in 2009, told the story of a disappointed person sending a message to another person, named Atta – presumably President Atta Mills – that all was not well with the nation.

It generated a lot of controversy and was regarded by some as reflecting the views of disgruntled and disappointed NDC supporters after they had toiled to get President Mills elected.

However, a few months later the musician released another song praising the President for his management of Ghana’s economy, leading some to question whether he had been ‘seen’ by some members of the ruling party.

Lucky Mensah told listeners of Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem on Tuesday, July 10 that irrespective of whatever anyone thought, nobody had the right to use his song without seeking his consent.

Citing examples of songs done by musicians such as Kwabena Kwabena, Christiana Love and A-Plus in the run up to the 2008 general elections, Lucky Mensah insisted nobody can tell him NPP did not pay them for those songs.

He wondered why the NPP could not approach him to seek his permission to use his song for campaign, questioning why a party wishing to win election to govern the country, will treat him, “a small man” like this.

Lucky Mensah denied that he had been given a huge sum of money by some members of the NDC to frustrate the NPP in their bid to use the song to campaign, admitting however “I have done a lot of songs for NDC which they will use for campaign.”

He bemoaned that “In Ghana when you do a song for a political party, you are viewed with jaundiced eyes and even members of the other party refuse to buy your CD.”

In a sharp rebuttal, Samuel Awuku, Deputy Communications Director of the NPP, counseled Lucky Mensah to be mindful of his utterances because they could have dire consequences on his career.

Citing examples of when the musician had consorted with members of the NPP when he was facing some challenges, Samuel Awuku wondered what had happened overnight for Lucky Mensah to sing his present tune.

Samuel Awuku indicated that the NPP as a party had not selected any particular song for its campaign, having received “thousands” of songs from artistes. But if Lucky Mensah insisted that the party refrain from using his song, the leadership would consider it and probably instruct its over four million members across the country to stop buying and using the song.

Also contributing, Kwame Anyimadu Antwi, a lawyer specializing in intellectual property law advised the NPP to consult the Ghana Music Rights Organization (GHAMRO) for a collective administration license to play all the songs in its repertoire in order to be able to play ‘Nkratuo’ without let or hindrance.
Mr. Ayim Addo Antwi, who is also Member of Parliament (MP) for Asante Akim North, said it would be almost impossible to enforce Lucky Mensah’s directive, especially when he had earlier indicated that he had produced songs for the NDC to use for its campaign.

He had this piece of advice for the musician: “I have a lot of experience in copyright issues, having worked at the Copyright Office for a long time before entering Parliament. In my experience, any song that is dogged by controversy doesn’t sell.”