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Artists Relief Fund: The good and the bad!


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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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.

Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021

Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.

Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.

Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”

“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.

He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.

He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.

According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.

There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.

Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.

“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication.
The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.

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