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Elvis Kemayo Guns For SOCAM Presidency 

By Francis Tim Mbom

One of Cameroon’s famous musicians, Elvis Kemayo, and one-time presenter of the then CRTV Youth Entertainment Show, Télé Podium, has declared his intentions to run for the top job of SOCAM.

Artists (from L-R) Sam Fan Thomas, Tchaya Stoppeur & Elvis Kemayo

SOCAM is the association that caters for the wellbeing of musicians, artists in other domains and their works in Cameroon. Kemayo breezed into Limbe Sunday, May 22, to launch his campaigns for the post of SOCAM President and other members to the board, which has been scheduled for June 11, in Yaounde.

"We are all behind you. Elvis Kemayo! Rassemblement!" artists who turned out chorused.
Among the Southwest artists were Joe Joe Musenja, a.k.a Sango Pastor, Elive Wesley, Mary Mandi, Tchaya Stoppeur, Njume Loko and a host of others. Kemayo hit Limbe with a group of famous musical names in the likes of Sam Fan Thomas, Ekambi Brilliant, one member of the Zangalewa group and so on.

"Cameroonian artists are tired. Today, they want a change in their artistic and daily lives," Kemayo said. "For 25 years, Cameroonian musicians have been suffering and yearning to have a more viable association and there has always been a failure because of clannish tendencies employed to run the association this far," he added.

Kemayo, who is the General Manager of the JPS Music Production House in France and is also running another Music House in Equatorial Guinea called TNO, reassured his Southwest colleagues that he was going to bring change that would benefit Cameroonian musiciand.

"I want to create a modern association where every Cameroonian musician would want to belong," Kemayo maintained. When Odille Ngaska, the first lady ever, was swept on to the driving seat of the musicians’ association and the association re-baptised SOCAM, a good lot of the artists were thumbs up for Odille.

The defunct grouping, known as the Cameroon Music Corporation, CMC, then run by Sam Mbende, had been branded as bad. Mbende, who had fought so hard to stay on as President despite a plethora of corruption charges levelled against him, was finally tossed out when the Minister of Culture, Ama Tutu Muna, waded in.

Her support for Odille saw her take the mantle of command as SOCAM’s "Iron Lady."
But, on May 22, the over 30 Southwest-based artists present at Kemayo’s campaign outing, were quick to brand Odille as being a woeful failure. They said since she took over she has never been to the Southwest and neither have the artists in the Southwest ever received any franc as royalties from SOCAM.

"Since she took office, she has never visited us, the musicians don’t know what is happening and not even one general assembly meeting has been called up," they said. The problem of artists not being able to get their royalties or financial rewards is age old in Cameroon. It was the same charge levelled against the CMC of Manu Dibango and that of Sam Mbende and others before them.

As a solution, Kemayo said he was going to create a commercial fund that shall produce 80 percent of the works of musicians. "We have seen some young Cameroonians enter this field because they are hungry. If you produce one album today, and tomorrow you cannot produce the other because of no returns, then the future will be bleak," he said.

Besides, he said he was going to seek for Minister Issa Tchiroma’s support so that Cameroon’s audio-visual and media outfits where the musicians get most of their royalties can be made to play more of Cameroonian music, or at least 80 percent of it in their various broadcast stations.

To curb piracy, he said he was going to open sales points or kiosks across the country where the original CDs and DVDS, to be produced at very low cost abroad, shall be sold at equally affordable prices. This he said shall automatically eclipse piracy.

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