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Artists Relief Fund: The good and the bad!

Lizibo

The creative sector is one of the many sectors affected by Covid-19, with many of the artists crying after failing to put bread on the table during lockdown, their cries have not fallen on deaf ears.

The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture development, Tumiso Rakgare deployed a strategy to assist the creative sector. There is however a condition: only those registered with Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS) will receive P2500 for a period of three months. The Minister therefore urged artists to register with COSBOTS to benefit.

Although some artists are emotional about the issue, since some are not yet registered with COSBOTS, local song bird Amantle Brown said artists should stop complaining and should register with COSBOTS.

“I registered with COSBOTS and I understand where the ministry is coming from, because it was a pretty hard decision to make. It was hard to decide on how best to disburse the funds. They just thought that since many people are registered with COSBOTS perhaps it is a family of artists, since that way it would be fair.

They wanted to include everyone, and I understand that there are people who feel like this is unfair, at the end of the day COSBOTS is the only body that is recognised because it is a standing body for artists at this point,” she said.

“They are giving us P2500 from April, May and June. The money is not bad, at least I can make a shoot, at least I can buy food, do my make-up for my photo-shoots and videos. If we use the little we have so that we can live, it is better than nothing.

We can use it for now as we are waiting for things to get better. It is really better than nothing. I really urge artists to get registered under COSBOTS and be under something they can be recognised,” she said. In an interview with WeekendLife, local sensation Lizibo also stated that the gesture by the government was a commendable one.

“Well personally, I welcome the MYSC relief plan because they explained that there was an extensive consultation with other stake holders such as Bomu and BOPA if I remember properly, so I would say it was well thought out,” he said.

“With regards to only COSBOTS registered musicians benefiting from the fund, I’m glad the Minister indicated that they will make provision for professional musicians who are not registered yet.

This, in my thinking, is good because some may have challenges to register but currently active in the entertainment scene while others are still awaiting confirmation from COSBOTS. All in all I wish it will be a smooth operation to credit the fund to help soften the blow of Covid-19.”

The pint sized songbird like many other artists stated that as an employer is grateful that her employees (her band) are also covered with the P2500. “We as artist also find it commendable for the amount because most of us don’t even get close to 2.5 royalties paid at COSBOTS,” he said.

The founder of a local renowned praise cohort called ‘We Must Praise Choir,’ Vusi Botshelo shared with WeekendLife that Minister Rakgare deliberated on whether or not youth covid-19 relief packages were fair to the intended youth beneficiaries as the music industry is tough and months can go by without that P2500.

“It’s quite unfortunate that many youth may not necessarily benefit from this initiative because not everyone is a football player or an artist. Personally I am grateful that I will benefit as an artist, but I think of an ordinary young Motswana in Zwenshambe who survived on “small jobs” and does not fall in the few categories mentioned.”

“One of my other concerns is that government has great initiatives but gets failed by lower management. Often at times we find that only the elite or connected benefit from such programs. Hence I advice that MYSC will have to be as efficient as possible in ensuring that everyone within the mentioned category gets assisted.

Furthermore I am also concerned about COSBOTS being used as an assessment tool because a lot of artists are not registered with them, yet their music plays on radios and Televisions. I would recommend that the Ministry increases their scope to ensure that all deserving artists are assisted with or without COSBOTS.”

Even though other artists will be benefiting from the government, some artist however feel that the Ministry can use CIPA as well.

“Many of us including myself have our songs fully registered with CIPA and playing on radio stations yet we are not registered with COSBOTS. Does that discredit us as performing artists, honestly no! There are other supporting bodies to the music industry of which we are part of that on its own shows how credible we are in the music industry but are we going to ignore also the fact that not every association provides us with a letter of reference as an honor to show we have participated or took part in their platforms,”

“That means we do not have any proof track record yet we performed and participated, on top of that many times you’ll realise that most artist we are broke even shooting a live performance video, we cannot afford it,” said local gospel sensation Rati Molaakgosi. It is yet to be seen if these new cries will also reach the ears of the the Minister.

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GPH takes Gov’t head-on over faulty Covid-19 results

3rd July 2020
Gaborone Private Hospital

Gaborone Private Hospital (GPH) has come out with guns blazing after they were accused of releasing false positive Covid-19 results which were later declared negative by the government task team force.

GPH insists that it is beyond doubt that their 8 positive Covid-19 results were indeed accurate.

This publication is in possession of a report that indicates how the government might have faulted with their results.  They narrate what might have caused the various results between laboratories.

The report indicates that one or more negative results do not rule out the possibility of Covid-19 virus infection. Furthermore a number of factors could lead to a negative result in an infected individual.

GPH is immovable in their results and believe that poor quality of the specimen containing little patient material (as a control, consider determining whether there is adequate human DNA in the sample by including a human target in the PCR testing) could be a factor in diagnosing whether the case reads positive or negative.

The hospital, in the report shared internally, also point out that another factor may be as a result of the mishandling and incorrect shipping of the specimen. The report also establishes that technical reasons inherent may be one of the reasons why results may vary.

This publication has also established that same test kits were used but with different time collection of the samples. GPH affirms that this might have also impacted why the results varied.

“We are happy with our quality and believe that reporting positives with one gene detected the right decision. With the other labs only calling positives when two genes are detected, they are possibly under reporting and releasing negative results that should be called positive based on the less stringent algorithm.”

Unconfirmed reports have indicated that the government has launched a thorough investigation into the matter as GPH faces possible retribution over the matter.

“The government knows they blundered and now want to silence GPH by indicating that they are the ones who faulted. There is a lot of mix up with how the government tests and confirms results as negative.” Botswana currently stands at 46 new cases with only 17 active cases with 28 recoveries and 1 death.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi has also gone into his fourth quarantine since Corona was discovered in Botswana. According to a press release released on Thursday, there is a new positive Covid-19 result on one of the President’s officials.

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An enquiry into BPC tenders uncovers rotting corruption

29th June 2020
BPC

A confidential report from enquiry on the award of tenders at Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) has recommended that key employees within the organisation be subjected to a Declaration of Assets exercise in a bid to find if they have been part of improper award of tenders cabal.

The confidential report seen by this publication was commissioned to give an overview on how procurement of equipment (imports) is conducted and awarded at BPC. The report titled “Enquiry into BPC tenders” which was released last month (5 May 2020), recommends that the organisation should be clear from the start whether they use selective tender or open tender process and which one will work for them.

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Court reinstates fired DIS agent

29th June 2020
Court reinstates fired DIS-agent-High-Court-Judge Godfrey Radijeng

High Court Judge Godfrey Radijeng has this week reinstated a Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) agent who was fired by the spy agency in August 2017. Justice Radijeng further ordered in the judgement that he be paid arrears from the time he was fired and for the cost of the litigation.

The reinstated DIS agent, Walter Matsoga, was in 2014 involved in a car accident and sustained injuries in the course of his clandestine job. More than a year later, on the 15th June 2015, the spy operative was subjected to a medical assessment at the instance of the DIS to determine his fitness to continue being in employment.  The assessment was carried out and he continued to be under the employ of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security.

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