Stakeholders in the Ghanaian music industry have fought tirelessly amidst divisions, for so many years to take control of a collective society to be managed by the musicians themselves to replace the existing Copyright Society of Ghana (COSGA) which was set up by the government under the supervision of the Attorney General.
Thankfully, their sweat and toil was finally over when COSGA was liquidated late last year to be replaced by the newly established Ghana Music Rights Organization (GHAMRO).
After a long wait GHAMRO’s certificate to operate as a collective society for musicians in the country was approved by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice on December 23, 2011 and was officially presented to its board members at a short ceremony in Accra on Wednesday, January 18th, 2012.
Even though the whole industry is rejoicing over the seemingly good news, the infighting among some members is already threatening the progress of the new collective society. There is currently, a looming fight between Carlos Sakyi, Interim Chairman of the newly-certified Ghana Music Rights Organization (GHAMRO) and a member of the Interim Board Rex Omar. Before the certificate was officially presented to them, the two disagreed with a statement Rex Omar made at the MUSIGA inauguration that COSGA was dead as at that time.
Carlos Sakyi insisted on Peace FM last year that he disagreed with him whiles Rex still maintained his stance that COSGA was dead.
Well, it seems the two are not done yet with each since they are engaged in another heated dispute over how the new board should operate.
Peacefmonline.com investigations have revealed that the current Interim Board responsible for the Management and Administration of GHAMRO has been divided into two factions.
Carlos Sakyi and some members believe the Interim Board should be allowed to preside over the affairs of GHAMRO for an unspecified tenure to put the right structures in place before substantive executives are elected into power. Some have interpreted this to mean a two-year mandate for the Interim board(that is the maximum number of years the board can operate as stated in their adapted constitution).
But Rex Omar and his group are of the view that since GHAMRO now has a valid certificate to operate; it does not make sense to continue operating with an Interim Board for an unspecified term, when there can be election to elect competent people to operate the organization.
According our sources, the disagreement between the two key members of the board is gradually generating into something fractious with some members of the board threatening to take legal action or stage a massive demonstration against the Interim Board.
Carlos Sekyi and Rex Omar clashed over the same issue on Peace FM’s “Entertainment Review” when their exchanges went overboard and even degenerated into insults. Tempers flared as Carlos began using certain unprintable words on Rex and even threatened to walk out of the studio.
Kwasi Aboagye, host of the program had to end the discussion abruptly at a point when none of them was ready to listen and both of them were interjecting each other needlessly.
“GHAMRO is a result of a conflict resolution…it was borne out of a conflict. There is nowhere in the world that a collective society like GHAMRO has a board,” Carlos Sakyi stressed.
According to him, in most similar societies in other parts of the world, there are elected representatives from all stakeholders in that industry, but because GHAMRO came as result of a peace move it is made up of identified organizations who have been made part of the peace movement.
“It is an interim board but it is a board with all the powers to run the body because if you go through the constitution which was used to set up GHARMRO, the transitional provision states clearly and there is a process that we will have to go through before an election can be held, however they have all the powers to run the body”.
Rex Omar conceded that it was because of the many conflicts plaguing the industry that compelled the various groupings to come together to form GHAMRO. He, however stressed that “in any part of this world, one belongs to a collective society by assigning rights. Collective societies are not formed with organizations”.
He explained that if any renowned musician like him or other musicians with numerous hit songs do not assign their rights to GHAMRO they have no business with GHAMRO even though they are musicians.
“We are speaking to all Ghanaians therefore we need to do things for all to better appreciate and understand. GHAMRO takes its powers from the members and the members have not gone for elections to elect anybody, they are an Interim body. So any time Carlos speaks, he should address it as interim so that it is clear to everybody that it is an interim board”.
The two kept arguing back and forth, and unsurprisingly tempers went an octave higher resulting in the exchange of vituperative language.
When call for calm heads fail to prevail, the host had no choice than to stop the discussion and open the phone lines for listeners to air their contributions.
Music Producer and a member of the Interim GHAMRO Board, Mark Okraku Mantey, later came in to condemn both of them for washing their dirty linens in public describing their behavior as unfortunate and uncalled for.
To him, that was not the right platform to discuss such matters since the board will be meeting for the first time after the issuance of the certificate to the group, where all pertinent issues could be resolved.
Eventually, Carlos apologized to listeners and asked them to forgive him if he said anything offensive, adding that he believes all what happened was for the good of the music industry so that musicians and all stakeholders will be okay.
“This has been my only interest in fighting this battle for the past twelve years,” he said.
Rex Omar, on his part, said he was not invited to launch an attack on anyone but to express his opinion and urged the media to open their eyes and follow issues about GHAMRO very closely and always report the truth.