The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture (MYSC), is being accused of corruption and favouritism at its Francistown offices. Controversial musician Thapelo Maleka aka MC Maswe and other artists in the northern part of the country have challenged Assistant Coordinator at MYSC, Caiphus Kopelang at the recently held COSBOTS workshop held in Francistown this past week.
Maleka said there are certain individuals who are overlooked when they break the rules and regulations set by the Ministry to get a larger portion of grants allocated for events and company advancement. After listening to the artists’ grievances, CIPA Branch Manager in Francistown advised the artists to report MYSC over the methods they use when awarding youth grants, to the DCEC for investigations into possible corruption. Maleka told The Botswana Gazette that they will be reporting the Ministry’s unscrupulous behaviour to the DCEC for investigation.
Maleka revealed that over the years an event has been given special treatment by being awarded an annual grant of P150 000 while other events have to raise their own funds to promote and execute their events. According to the regulations set by MYSC an individual or company may not be awarded a grant promoting their event in consecutive years. However this is not the case in Francistown. Maleka added that there are only two individuals in the whole city who get invited for large value tenders for providing lights and sound equipment and the rest only get invited to tender for events not exceeding an amount of P10 000.
Tempers flared at the meeting as artists accused the Ministry of stealing their ideas. A young female artist said she has no faith in the government as she has fallen victim to fraud and manipulation by the ministry. She testified that her ideas were once stolen by MYSC after she submitted her proposal letter. She said when she went to inquire about her idea she was informed that her idea was long thought of by the ministry. “My question is that why did they not tell me this the very first time I approached their offices, why did they wait to implement my idea before they told me this. I don’t believe they had that idea to begin with, they stole my idea and I am not the first victim nor the last one,” she said.
Speaking in defence of his department Kopelang said he is well aware that there are certain individuals who get grants year after year. He said those individuals were not awarded the grants by the Francistown office but rather went directly to his superiors in Gaborone where they negotiated for themselves and were awarded such grants. He insisted that in Francistown they follow the rules but it is rather senior officials in Gaborone who have the authority to give out grants to those they deem deserving.