Entertainment industry guns for Masupu & company
Task force criticized for arrogance, don’t care spirit
BOFEPUSU, arts industry want economy to be opened
Knives are out for the Presidential Covid-19 Task Force led by Coordinator Dr Kereng Masupu as the entertainment industry accuses it of showing the spirit of arrogance that destroys economy.
The most affected entertainment sector is unhappy that the seemingly powerful task force but not offering concrete scientific results in the fight against Covid-19 should stop its don’t care spirit. The sector has pleaded with government to fast track opening up of the industry as it has suffered lot.
The industry players expressed discontent against the behavior of task force during Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal Sector Unions (BOFEPUSU) youth, sport and culture panel discussion that reflected on the impact of Covid-19 on youth, sport and creative industry.
Botswana Music Union (BOMU) president Fresh Lesokwane said that task force is frustrating. He noted that the union has tried all the efforts to engage the task force on its phase opening proposals which include reopening the music festivals and other events at 30% capacity but failed.
“The industry is seating on the brink of collapse and the task force is not caring to proposals we are making. The sector has never be given a chance by task force and this is bad for our sector. Research has also shown that the creative industry in Botswana contributes 5.4% to the economy and it’s very frustrating for the presidential task force to continue blocking our efforts,” said Lesokwane.
According to Lesokwane, artists have been financially and mentally affected by Covid-19 impact.
Consequently, he encouraged the local musicians to invest in other industries as there is still no hope from the Covid-19 task force that it will give a lifeline to the entertainment industry to open.
BOMU president also pleaded with local radio stations to play the local musicians content so as to boost their financial situation adding that foreign musicians’ songs get more air in local stations.
In addition, Lesokwane said that government should speed vaccination rollout to save economy.
Secretary General of Botswana Entertainment Promoters Association (BEPA) David Abraham said that BEPA has met the Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture for support.
Abraham says that there is no political will from the government to support the creative industry.
“In our reopening proposal, we have made it clear that all the events will be regulated by BEPA and COSBOTS. The events management team are proposed for an effective coordination so as to ensure compliance to health protocols. We demand that all the coordinated events such as Miss Botswana and music awards be allowed to take place as test to open up industry,” he said.
Dissapointed Abraham indicated that the promoters association also tried to bring on board the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Cultural Development Tumiso Rakgare but to no avail.
Efforts to reach Coordinator of task force Dr Kereng Masupu proved futile at time of going to print.
Kenneth Mmereki, a member of BOFEPUSU Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture said that the federation will engages the entertainment industry unions to push for economy to be opened up.
Mmereki indicated that it is important for they key sectors of the economy such as the creative industry to be opened adding that successful vaccination rollout should be prioritized for all citizens.
He said that BOFEPUSU will help the entertainment sector to draft recovery plans through the involvement of health experts from its affiliated unions such as Botswana Nurses Union (BONU).