Music artists have
welcomed the suspension of the top leadership of the Uganda Performing Rights
Society-UPRS, describing it as good news and positive step towards getting the
pay of their sweat.
On Monday, government through the Uganda Registration
Services Bureau-URSB suspended UPRS Chief Executive Officer James Wasula and
the Compliance Officer, Dickson Matovu to pave way for investigations into their
works following complaints different groups in the arts industry.
According to URSB, the suspension of the officials will allow
for effective inquiries into the constitution, workings, and financial
conditions of the society.
“There have also been a number of complaints from members of
the society with allegations of mismanagement of finances and remittances of
royalties collected from rights users which URSB would also like to look into
critically,” URSB said in a statement.
April, artists under Uganda Musicians
Association-UMA petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga calling
investigation into the association. UMA has up to 100 members.
URN spoke to some
members of the association about the suspension of the officials. The artists
say the suspension of the officials will help
the inquiry find the truth about their royalties.
Sophie Gombya, a music artist and UMA committee member, told
URN that as musicians they are happy with the decision. She says music is a
business and artistes need to earn what they deserve.
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royalties of the artists are paid by radio stations, bars and other
organisations including supermarkets and hotel chains that use their works.
However, according to some music artists whereas the money is
paid to the society, they are not told how much the society collects.
Ibrahim Mayanja alias Big Eye, a music artist, says all they
want is transparency.
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While UPRS is an organisation formed by the authors of the
works, it is recognized by government as a collection society and therefore can
investigate its works if any members complain.
Kabiito Karamagi and Rita
Baguma Birungi of Ligomarc Advocates have been appointed caretakers of the