From the 15 to 18 October 2019, MUM, SMF and FIM organised a workshop in Lilongwe, within the scope of a union empowerment programme which FIM and SMF are carrying out in Malawi with the backing of Swedish confederation Union to Union. Aimed at pursuing the activities engaged in line with the resolutions of the December 2018 Congress, this workshop took place in a different atmosphere from what had been scheduled. Recently re-elected union President, Chimwemwe Mangho chose to step down from his functions for personal reasons in April 2019.
Although union action has continued at a regional level, as with the Women’s Desk, this situation has created tension lined with uncertainty. In particular, the question was to know whether Gloria Kampingu, ex Vice-President and currently acting President, could be maintained in her functions up to the next ordinary congress.
A plan was adopted to prepare an extraordinary congress before the end of 2019
An in-depth reflection took place in English and Chewa, to facilitate the participation of delegates who had difficulty with English. A plan was adopted to prepare an extraordinary congress before the end of 2019. In particular, the congress will have to update union rules, define strategic priorities and elect a new management body.
MUM operates in a very poor country which has a highly casual music sector. Despite this, it has many assets. The way it operates is both democratic and decentralised, with five regional branches: North, Centre, East, South and Johannesburg (which brings together musicians from the Malawi diaspora in South Africa). In addition, it has solid relations with union confederation MCTU and the collective management society COSOMA. Gender parity is taken very seriously and its status as a union has enabled it to become more efficient and visible. Despite this, it still has its work cut out to achieve a fluid transition after a period that bore the stamp of a charismatic President.