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Festivals ban exposes OPís hasty decisions

NNASARETHA KGAMANYANE
Cabinet has resolved that all music festivals booked at different stadia will go ahead
After a hasty decision was taken by the Office of the President (OP) to ban music festivals at stadia and public places, the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Development, Thapelo Olopeng has told the media that Cabinet has resolved that all music festivals booked at different stadia will go ahead.

The U-turn move by the government came after a press release from the OP directed both MYSC and Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to prohibit all festivals including the already booked ones. OP’s rushed decision was fuelled by a recent unfortunate incident at the Gaborone International Music and Culture Week’s (GIMC) where a young woman lost her life.

When addressing the media at a media briefing intended to clarify issues about the permission of music festivals held at the National Stadium and other public areas, Olopeng said Cabinet agreed to allow all the booked festivals for 2017 to go ahead. 

Olopeng went on to condemn the revellers’ outrageous behavior at GIMC. “We have never signed anybody to get in the stadium and feed people with alcohol. We signed for people to come and bring musicians or artistes to come and play music. I don’t want people to blame me or point fingers at anyone for the recent activities that transpired at the National Stadium. I don’t want us to point fingers at the stadium management, promoters or so forth,” he said.

The minister further explained that sensible people who are objective will not blame the recent absurd behavior on lack of security at the events. He pointed out that people could have fun and enjoy music without the presence of security. He said people go to festivals to have fun and enjoy music. “When we go to watch music, why do we need security? We go there to have fun and enjoy music. In developed countries, people go have fun and enjoy music without security. People behave,” he said. Olopeng further emphasised that they will put control measures

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at the upcoming events.

He added that if people continue with their outrageous behaviour at the upcoming events, his ministry will be forced to go back Cabinet and seek two years suspension of such. He also pointed out that they never experienced such shameful acts in the past.  “I am very jealous of my ministry. I know the potential business that this industry can bring forth. I know how talented young people of this country are. The music can also create jobs for a number of unemployed young people in the country,” he said.

The minister also said they were still awaiting a report from the police. He confirmed being informed about one murder case, assault, car breaking and theft that transpired at the event.  For his part, the Permanent Secretary to the President Carter Morupisi expressed a great concern to recent activities that happened at the event.

“We cannot turn a blind eye at the recent activities that happened at the National Stadium. We are aware that there was a loss of life, looting, allegations of rape and a lot of damage done at the stadium. As we know, that stadium is a multi purpose stadium where different activities such as football, athletics and other things are hosted.”

“According to the report we received, I don’t think we will be able to use it for the country’s Independence Day celebrations. That is why we had to issue the directive that the use of National Stadium has to be stopped immediately,” he said.

Morupisi further condemned the public for the offensive response towards the government after the OP issued a public notice that banned the use of the National Stadium.



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