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Choral awards scandal

by Lesotho Times

MASERU — The Choral Music Federation of Lesotho national executive committee has been sharply divided following disagreement over the 2009 African Melody Festival Awards, the Weekender has learnt.
The 12-member committee has been split into two bitter camps over adjudicators’ controversial decisions to give four local choirs and a soloist awards at a competition held in Maseru on 6 December.
The Weekender understands that although Mafeteng choral group, St Gerard Serenades, won the competition in the gold category the adjudicators awarded the top spot to a different group, Maseru Vocal Waves.
St Gerard Serenades also lost out in the Western piece category when the adjudicators gave the award to Maria Mabasotho — a Maseru-based choral group.
In another category, the adjudicators announced at the awards ceremony that there had been a tie between the National University of Lesotho choir and the Maseru City Choral.
But in a surprising twist to the scandal, some members of the committee have since discovered that the varsity choir was supposed to be named the winners.
There is also disagreement over the award for the soloist after adjudicators picked Mathebe LEC soloist when the winner was in fact St Patrick’s Choir soloist.
The shocking anomalies were discovered during the committee’s evaluation meeting held in Maseru on 11 December.
The Weekender has learnt that since the discovery the committee has been divided over whether or not to publicise the glaring irregularities.
Three members of the committee are said to be pushing to publicise the irregularities while the rest of the committee want the matter to remain under wraps.
Sources said among those pushing for the publicising of the anomalies are development officer, Malefetsane Mathe and project co-ordinator Sam Letima.
The president, Pitso Ramokoatsi and Neo Ramarou, the secretary are said to be against the decision to publicise the anomalies.
The committee has however agreed to call for an adjudicators’ disciplinary hearing which is scheduled for today at the Memorial Hall in the capital.
The federation’s deputy president, Rethabile Nkuoatsana, confirmed that there were anomalies in the awards.
Nkuoatsana said there were serious discrepancies in the mark sheets of the competition.
“We discovered that there were some choirs that were given awards yet the scores on the mark sheets showed that they did not win,” Nkuoatsana said.
He however said that the committee will only take a decision after today’s adjudicators’ disciplinary hearing.
“We have decided to hold a disciplinary hearing with the adjudicators on Thursday (today) at the Memorial Hall,” he said.
He said that the main purpose of the disciplinary hearing was to establish the reasons behind the scandal and would take necessary action to discipline the adjudicators.
“Our main reason is to establish why the adjudicators decided to give the awards to choirs and a soloist who did not win the competition.
“We have never meddled with their work when we have asked them to adjudicate in our competitions.
“We only sit down to (assess) their work during our evaluation meeting. But I can only be in a position to tell you of our decision after the disciplinary hearing on Thursday,” Nkuoatsana said.

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