Three surviving members of the famous liberation war choir, Light Machine Gun (LMG), have threatened to sue former Information minister and Zanu PF central committee member Sikhanyiso Ndlovu over the continued use of the liberation war jingles by a group of musicians linked to him.
The trio, who were members of the original choir popularly known as Ichoir Kamdala (in reference to the late Joshua Nkomo when he was Zapu leader) – Give Nare, Happiness Sibanda and Gladys Moyo – said they would sue Ndlovu and the alleged group leader Mpho Sibanda for piracy and infringement of their copyright.
The LMG Choir was the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (Zipra)’s official musical group which was formed in 1978 in Zambia by Lichani Moyo, Mawuda Sibata and Nare.
But, Ndlovu yesterday dismissed the claims as unfounded, arguing LMG’s songs were public property composed for the liberation of the country, adding the original group disbanded in the early 1980s during the Gukurahundi era.
“The Nare you are referring to at some point claimed to be the one who formed it and through his grandfather he claimed the choir existed.
“If they think their copyright is being infringed, then why can’t they go to court? These songs were not composed for money purposes, but were for the liberation. For someone to claim ownership is ridiculous.
“This is like claiming copyright of Umdala’s portrait,” said Ndlovu. But, Nare, leader of the original group and a composer of several jingles produced during the country’s armed struggle, accused Ndlovu of piracy.
“I am very angry to note that they have gone as far as stealing our songs recording them for their personal gain.
“We will take legal action against them soon,” Nare fumed. Last month, the Ndlovu-sponsored LMG Choir reproduced Ndebele versions of Zanu PF jingles and launched them at a function attended by the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity, Webster Shamu, in Bulawayo.
The LMG founders, however, claimed some of the songs on the recent compilation album were their intellectual property.
The disgruntled group members say their investigations have established that the group purporting to be LMG has started recording six LMG songs including Ngatitendei Baba Nkomo, vaMsika which was composed by Lichani Moyo.