Members and crew of the Essence Band, belonging to legendary high- life musician Daddy Lumba, are up in arms with President of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), Bice Osei Kuffour, popularly known as Obour, for failing to honour a contractual payment arrangement he had with the band.
The situation has gotten out of hand with the band members now accusing Obour of sheer exploitation, betrayal of trust and a deliberately refusing to pay them.
“Before the Ghana Music Week, Obour had a written agreement with us to play on credit and that he would pay us the performance fee exactly seven days after the show. Since then he keeps tossing us and he gave us to one of his men who insulted us when we approached him for the money.
“After a whole month of hide and seek, he was asking us if before the Ghana Music Week we were not having money to eat and that why are we behaving as if without the performance fee we won’t eat. He told us we can take the matter anywhere we like even if we decide to go to the media, he does not care,” a member of the Essence Band who gave his name as Awotwe told News-One.
When the paper called Obour over the matter, he confirmed the band had not been paid after the Ghana Music Week and added that though he was expecting money from sponsors of the event to pay them, he did not have a contract with them.
“He (Awotwe) keeps saying they have a contract and all that. You should even see what contract he is claiming he has. On the night of the show, we just put something together on paper and we all signed it. But you know, they are not the only ones we owe and this same thing happened last year with Stonebwoy when some outstanding payment issues came up.
“It is not like anybody is running away or we are denying that we owe them but when you finish shows, you have some outstanding bills and this is just one of them. What if everybody we owe decides to ask for their money or go public; we would die,” Obour explained.
The MUSIGA President was of the view that Lumba’s band was only going public so as to put pressure on them and assured the paper he was going to sort out the disagreement with the band by close of last March. But checks showed he neither paid the money nor even placed a phone call to them as at press time yesterday, April 8.
“It is the same attitude Obour and his men have displayed since the Ghana Music Week ended. And when we talk, they either insult us, tell us to take them wherever we like or they simply promise to call us back but they never do. As if they only used and dumped us or the contract they signed with us was fraud. If this is the treatment from the leadership of the Musicians Union, then who else would defend our interests?” Awotwe added.
NEWS-One also gathered that several of those who performed at the Ghana Music Week event remain unpaid, the same situation which led to a tensed situation the previous year.