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Restriction on public gathering affects artists

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BOTOMANI—It is not as simple as people might think

The restriction on public gathering of not more than 100 people made by the government recently as part of fighting coronavirus which continues to claim lots of lives in the country has affected the creative industry greatly, musician Soldier Lucius Banda, has said.

Lucius wrote on his Facebook page that public gathering ban was understandable considering the coronavirus pandemic but many artists depend on the gatherings as regards live performances hence they were failing to make ends meet.

“But have you checked how people, who earn an income via these public events are now struggling to make ends meet, does anyone seem to care? Have you checked what other countries have done about it?,” he said.

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He further said that instead of coronavirus (Covid-19), people will die of blood pressure, stress and hunger in that this was an indefinite ban.

And speaking later on Times Sunday Debate, Lucius, said the government would have made consultations before coming out with some of the measures so as to map the way forward.

“What the government did on the measures is a welcome development but it could have consulted players such as those affected by public gatherings ban,” he said.

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Lucius suggested that other countries have looked at the issue critically and was compensating some of the people affected and that the government could have also done the same.

“I am looking at up and coming artists, who solely depend on live performances, these days you can’t sell music through CDs. These people pay tax and since we have Ministry of Disaster probably these people can be assisted through compensation,” he said.

Lucius said the situation was even bad in that they were not sure when they would resume business.

“We are in a dilemma and the situation is quite complicated,” he said.

Several other musicians have also expressed concern on the ban although many welcomed the measures.

“We are affected and we don’t know how we will move going forward. All we can do is wait and see when things will normalise,” Lilongwe-based musician Lulu said.

The ban on public gathering of not more than 100 people has seen several artists postponing or cancelling shows.

Minister of Information, Mark Botomani, said Sunday that the government has put such precautionary measures to protect the lives of people.

He said the measures have not only affected the creative industry but lots of sectors and that the government was on alert to make sure that people are protected and that coronavirus does not hit the country.

“This is a crisis. The government priotises lives of people and that is what it has done in putting up precautionary measures. As for compensation, the government cannot do that now but maybe as we go forward that can be looked at,” Botomani said.

The country has not yet recorded any coronaviruses cases.

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