This follows the tragic event of September 2, where a young woman lost her life whilst she and other revellers were trying to gain entry into the National Stadium. The unfortunate incident was a result of a stampede at one of the gates. It is apparent that the festival was not properly planned putting public security at risk nor were the organisers prepared for an eventuality of a stampede.
Robberies, stabbings and other violent crimes occurred during the festival and the police were unable to cope with the situation. What is even more disturbing, however, is for the government to ban festivals with immediate effect instead of first waiting for the outcome of the investigation instituted by the promoter. Secondly, the government has power and capacity to investigate further on why the festival was a tragic disaster and come up with standards to ensure that the same mistake does not occur in future.
We cannot run a country as if it is a farm where herdboys are ordered to be home before dawn or a prison where inmates are ordered to go to bed at a prescribed time. Just recently, the government attempted to discriminate against people who get injured whilst at drinking places, to a point that it was instructed that they were not to receive medical attention from public health facilities.
It was ultimately reversed with nobody owning the statement. The government should appreciate that its war on fun is the reason why unemployment figures have soared in the last eight years and the reason why investors seem reluctant to come and set up business in the country.
This war on fun is one of the reasons why every weekend Batswana travel to neighbouring countries such as South Africa and Namibia in large numbers to spend their money where the fun is.
In essence this has forced the migration of the spending population that has now slowed the cashflow within local businesses down. Such unilateral government decisions neither retain nor attract such spending power that is an opportunity for potential profit and a positive for cashflow for local businesses.
Our nation is made up of people who have different ways of having fun, and music festivals make up their fun bill. Many people in this country cannot afford motorcycles or aeroplanes to participate in Khawa or airshows, hence music festivals are some of the few options left to them. Banning such entertainment at the National Stadium is like banning import of high-speed vehicles because one or two people have died in car crashes.
The government ought to learn from past mistakes. This decision must be reversed immediately.
“Strong government doesn’t mean simply military power or an efficient intelligence apparatus. Instead, it should mean effective, fair administration - in other words, ‘good governance±’.”