By A Correspondent- Artists in Bulawayo have challenged the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) to name and shame those who tried to defraud the Covid-19 Arts relief fund.
NACZ director Nicholas Moyo said artistes in Bulawayo Province will be the last to receive the Covid-19 relief money after it emerged that there were some who applied for their spouses, creating duplicates that were rejected by the distributing bank.
According to NACZ, there were 216 applications that were received by Bulawayo province with 172 sailing through while 44 were rejected. Artistes such as poet Desire “Moyoxide” Moyo said as artistes they want the council to name the individuals who were trying to defraud the relief fund.
“It’s an unfortunate allegation against the city artistes hence we want the council to name those individuals that have affected everyone. We can’t have the greater mass of us suffering because of a handful corrupt and selfish individuals. Hunger is not a justification for attempting to defraud the fund, if what NACZ is saying is true,” said Moyoxide.
Another artiste, Nkululeko Nkala said they do not want to be painted with one brush.
“It’s wrong what he said. Why paint the whole city with the same brush. Why did they not deal with the fake names to avoid punishing the innocent ones who are suffering as the industry has not been functioning for months,” said Nkala.
He said the allegations against the city’s artistes will impact negatively on their brands.
“We have artistes that have established brands and are working with serious organisations here in Bulawayo and are likely to be affected,” said Nkala.
Sithandazile Dube who is an actress, MC and poet concurred saying she was disheartened.
“It’s very painful that this has had to happen to us as artistes from the province. I think instead of painting all the artistes with one brush the council or board that was vetting should have dealt with the culprits,” said Dube.
Nkululeko Dube said although he understands the NACZ director’s concerns, he was of the view that punishing everyone was too harsh.
“The reason for vetting, I want to believe, was to weed out such culprits and punish them instead of affecting everyone including the innocent ones. The individuals who attempted to defraud the fund did so as individuals and not on behalf of Bulawayo artistes,” said Dube. He said because of the allegations, donors and other stakeholders will in future be reluctant to work with artistes from the province which is detrimental to their careers.
“I don’t condone corruption but we must weed out bad apples as opposed to blaming everyone. It is therefore important to name and shame those involved,” said Dube.
Raisedon Baya said all he wants was for deserving artistes to get the fund. “I have no opinion about it except to say it would be nice to see all artistes who deserve the relief fund benefiting. I think there is a bit of politicking which is unfortunate, artistes must not be politicised,” said Baya.-statemedia