Mmegi Blogs :: No more fun
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Thursday 21 September 2017, 16:02 pm.
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No more fun

I have always said and continue to emphasise that government, unlike you and I, cannot have emotions. Goromente ga a ngale gase ngwana. The converse holds in Botswana though, and we have a government that beats itself to the ground and cries at every corner of the way and at each mention of alcohol or smoke.
By Owen Nsala Wed 13 Sep 2017, 16:54 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: No more fun








As recent as last week, there was a circular from Government Enclave that put an embargo on all musical festivals at public places. It did not matter whether the festivals were pre-planned, or at infancy, or organisational stage. The message was loud and clear that there will be no concert at public places and whoever felt otherwise must jump ship or brazenly put in street llingo, go hang.

The announcement arrived after the Gaborone International Music Festival (GIMF), which was hosted at the national stadium. It was a packed up event with some revellers seemingly being uncontrollable, either due to drink or simply on account of them being small time petty thieves. In the mix-up that followed up the full-to-the- brim event, a life was lost and several people are reported to have been injured. A regrettable incident and occurrence to which we can only pray that it was the last of its kind. No justification can ever be put forward for the loss of a life. May the soul of the young lady find eternal peace, and may those who caused her untimely and sad death be brought to book and answer to the charges through courts of law.

In the light of that, and with the evidence dropped before it, government went on overdrive and called to an end to all festivities in public places. In my view, it was an emotional judgement, and a serious error in judgement on account that it set a terribly bad precedent that going forward, if there is any event that is likely to take a life of another person, then the government would be bound to call an end to it. Imagine if government was to be told people died at Khawa Festival or at the Desert race next year and with the embargo ongoing! Are we to assume that then government would call to an end the desert race? What would happen if a soccer match was ongoing and supporters died? Do we call football matches to close?

Further to that, the decision to call off music festivals ignores the fact that these events are not attended by kids and are attended by adults who are conscious enough of the repercussions that may follow such events. Volenti non fit injuria. Government must not assume elderly people are kids who do not have a sense of proper judgement and need guidance from the powers-that-be on how to have fun.

The other concern I have with the knee-jerk reaction is

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that it makes government susceptible to unnecessary lawsuits and interdicts at court, of course at the expense of the tax payers' money. No doubt exists that the powers-that-be were aware that the decision being made was in all likelihood going to affect several, and if not many stakeholders. Pertinently, and chief amongst those, were those that had already booked public facilities and had permission to use the stadiums and other designated public places. The law places an obligation upon government or any decision-maker to give them audience before such an adverse decision could be taken. At law, we term it the audi alteram parterm rule. Hear the other side.

There is evidently a culture that is brewing at Government Enclave that is against the dictates of our founding democratic principles. We have long been celebrated as a country that prides itself in allowing voices from different ends of the spectrum on matters that affect our livelihood. We have known that decisions are taken after all those with interest in the matter are afforded an opportunity to make representations and present facts which may tilt any pending decision in the favour of a sound argument. Those days are sadly becoming a thing of the past as we now live in a world of circulars and dictates by a stroke of a pen from the powers-that-be.

It is surely not the first time that there has been a memo from government that sends shockwaves on its publication.

One can, on the recent events recall the government health policy that dictated for not providing medical assistance to those that got injured whilst drinking alcohol, or to not extend medical assistance to those that smoke and have smoke-related illnesses. As the policy is falling at the maternity bed and dying before it could utter a word, government found another opportune moment from the events that occurred at the GIMF to send a message home that it has an undying hatred of those that partake in events of the night. It was a miscalculated opportunity to call an end to the entertainment and alcohol industry with the war having long been waged through the alcohol levy and the closure of night clubs through limited hours of operation.

In closing, I surmise that a life has been lost. That however must not be an excuse to go against the known cardinals of natural justice and defiantly seek a closure to night life, which of course is a source of livelihood for many.

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Guilty As Charged
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