This is an election year and parties have launched their campaigns in earnest to lure voters as the national elections fever gains momentum. Musicians, who have become part of the attraction at political rallies, are bracing themselves for a windfall as they will be booked to perform at the weekend rallies.
Already some of them have started cashing in. Competition is rife in this industry, and some musicians have openly declared their affiliation to certain political parties in a move that many view as a way of guaranteeing that they are booked to perform at their rallies. Last weekend, Afro pop sensation Astley Gops was performing at the launch of Ngwaketse west Member of Parliament Ngaka Ngaka in Khudumelapye. Asked if his featuring in a BDP rally could be construed as a declaration of support for the ruling party, Astley Gops said he has a standing rule not to confuse business with politics.
“As musicians we should not involve ourselves in partisan politics. That would be a huge mistake,” he said.
He declared that he is neutral and does not support any political party, but rather simply offers his service wherever and whenever he is needed. He added that he accepts invitations to perform at any rally regardless of political party affiliation.
“I usually perform for all parties including UDC, BNF and BCP. Like I said I have no consideration for party affiliation. For me this is strictly business,” he said.
As the various parties prepare for the polls in October, local musicians are lining up for a financial windfall as they know they will be fully booked throughout the campaign period. Political parties have realized that people attend their rallies in large numbers if the political speeches and sloganeering are spiced up with occasional musical performances. Ahead of the general elections, a number of musicians have publicly declared their support for the ruling party. For example, artists like ATI, Wizards and Vee are associated with the ruling party. But Astley Gops thinks differently. He believes musicians should not be segregated along party lines because music cuts across all divides.