Stern warning for party animals

19th September 2017
Olopeng Source:The Midweek Sun

*Olopeng warns drunkards, trouble makers and revellers

Party animals, revellers in all their hue as well as drunkards who revel in nice time have been warned to shape up or risk having festivals banned during the festive season. Youth, Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development minister Thapelo Olopeng said this week at a press briefing in Gaborone that music festivals will only take place until December 28 in order to wrap up those that were already on the roster.He condemned the incident in which a person died in a stampede at the National stadium during the Gaborone International Music & Culture (GIMC) Week.

“We condemn that without a blink of an eye because what has happened was not because of the festival but because of human behaviour. Human beings did what was not the mandate of the promoters whereby issues like knife stabbing, robbing people’s cars, rape and sadly losing life of a Motswana were reported,” he said. He was reacting to a previous statement from the Office of the President that festivals should be banned with immediate effect. Olopeng said all that is needed is cooperation and good behaviour and manners that Batswana are renowned for, to avoid such acts.

He said banning festivals would depend on the behaviour of people, reiterating that as leaders they would not condone misbehaviour. He said leadership has gone all out to try to grow the entertainment industry and at the moment is drawing serious security measures to avoid similar stampedes in the future. He urged alcohol users to behave properly or simply stop drinking adding that turning a fun activity into a criminal activity cannot be condoned. He said music helps create jobs as well as diversifying the economy hence it must be jealously guarded.

“Some of the groups employ about 10 people including, bass, drums and sound engineers to even groom the talent in the country. So we cannot allow anyone to destroy this,” said Olopeng. A lot of damage was done at the multi-purpose stadium during the stampede. The sports side is affected as well. Close to 50 chairs were removed from the VIP area, while windows were broken and there are also broken bottles on the ground which makes it unhealthy for players, or the upcoming Independence celebrations. As it stands, this has affected some of the programmed events and it is costly to maintain the damages. Olopeng said maintenance can only be done if there is money but right now there is no money.

“It can be included only in the next financial year,” he said. He said that reinforcing security within all the stadiums or building such facility is going to be very expensive but if people could behave, stadiums would continue to be used, while renovating them to upgrade security than letting the entertainment industry die completely because of people who misbehave. There was a warning that if people misbehave during festive season these would ultimately be closed.

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