The Malawi Association of Musicians (MAM) has just been officially recognized as a professional union and becomes MUM (Musicians’ Union of Malawi).
Announced on 4 March 2014 and widely communicated by national radios and televisions, this government decision is the fruit of unrelenting and determined work carried out over several years by MUM’s current President, Mr. Chimwemwe Mangho, and his predecessor Mr. Costen Mapemba. FIM and the Swedish Musicians’ Union (SMF) -which has a cooperation agreement with MUM- were firmly committed with their Malawi colleagues to obtain this indispensable recognition from the government.
It was generally the informal nature of employment of musicians that delayed this decision, since the government previously considered that only salaried workers were entitled to be represented and defended by a union. This turnaround, which confirms that a self-employed worker must have the same rights as other workers, is excellent news at national level but also for the union movement on a global scale.
The support of ACTRAV, the Council of Global Unions (CGU) and the The LO-TCO Secretariat of International Trade Union Development Co-operation (Sweden) was a precious help in achieving the success of this campaign.
Unfortunately, other countries such as Kenya, continue to refuse their professional musicians such recognition. FIM remains mobilized with its Kenyan member organisation KEMU to put an end to this injustice.