Cindy Sanyu [Photo: Courtesy]

Fast-rising female dancehall singer Cindy Sanyu is the new Vice President of Uganda Musicians Association (UMA). Sanyu was voted in by fellow artists after the seat fell vacant following the resignation of UMA president Sophie Gombya in July 2020. The then VP, singer Ykee Benda, assumed the position from Gombya who quit months into her two-year tenure to run for the position of Lord Woman Councillor in Kampala Central.

“Cindy is a fighter and a very strong person. I remember she was among the people that fought for artistes during the save Uganda music campaign,” said Benda as he congratulated the ex-Blu 3 singer for the win in the contest that attracted soulful Salute star Namakula Mary Bata, Kambere Nawe songbird Sarah Zawedde and Maama playwright Mariam Ndagire.

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He noted that plans by the association are on course to unveil Sanyu to the public before she assumes office. Established in 2017 in protest over the handling of artist royalties by the Uganda Performing Rights Society (UPRS), UMA in June that year petitioned the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga. In the petition, UMA accused UPRS of mismanagement, infringement of copyright law and corruption.

"We want him (UPRS boss James Wasula) suspended so that he doesn't interfere with the investigation process like he always does," said UMA spokesperson George Bush Kagoda. "In the meantime, Uganda Registration Services Bureau can appoint a caretaker as provided under Section 7(4) of the Copyright and Neighboring Act 2006. Justice Ministry is the line ministry for copyright-based industries and should, therefore, be the one to draw statutory instruments for the regulation of the sector."

Sworn in on May 29, 2019, at the Uganda National Theater in Kampala alongside 12 other officials, Gombya a month after the meeting with speaker Kadaga resigned. Commenting on her resignation at the time, UMA chief Whip Jammie Culture said Gombya sacrificed a lot, including financially, to keep the association on course. Culture claimed that she eventually caved in under the guise of pursuing active politics to save face after the coronavirus pandemic rocked UMA’s young and soft underbelly.

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"Something happened at the beginning of the lockdown from artistes and promoters and we were on so much pressure as UMA. It was too much for her because most artistes were calling from all directions asking for food and money. She could not handle it. She broke down when we were at Mesach's place and she was asking where she would get the food to feed the artiste,” he said.