Asks Maiko Zulu
If word going around in the artistic circles that some of the largest beneficiaries of the Presidential Artist Empowerment Funds are allegedly leaders of the very institutions in charge of disbursement of the said funds, then questions of abuse of authority of office and unfair advantage need to raised and urgently so.
It is necessary that leaders give priority to ordinary struggling artistes who do not get sitting allowances for meetings and free fuel to run around. Leaders should morally be the last people to be considered for empowerment. There are artistes who live purely on their creativity who have not been selected among recipients of the ‘loans’ despite paying for associate membership with affiliate associations and it would be unfair for leaders of arts bodies to be the first and largest beneficiaries of these public funds.
It is therefore necessary that an independent audit of the real owners of the approved projects be carried out to establish which individuals are really behind the selected projects and who among these may be part of the selection and approval process of the fund’s beneficiaries. It is also necessary for investigative institutions like the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) to take keen interest in institutions that deal with public funds. Media bodies are also challenged to take an investigative approach on this and other matters of public interest so that the truth is laid bare and citizens are assured of fairness and equitable distribution of public funds.