What was supposed to be a pleasant surprise by the organizers of the Francistown Independence Celebrations Committee is unraveling into a nasty affair.
At the centre of the fracas is the P60 000 donation made by Tati Company.
When the pledge was made, a decision was taken to hold back the announcement, away from the District Commissioner and the public.
But the District Commissioner, Ms Sylvia Muzila, is not impressed.
Even more, she feels annoyed that some in the organizing committee could have the discourtesy of diverting to other uses other than the bigger public celebrations.
A suggestion has been made that the P60 000 be used to fund the much more exclusive and luxurious Mayor’s ball.
Muzila is of the view that the money should, instead, be channeled towards the general celebrations enjoyed by the larger population. She feels the bill for Mayor’s ball can be picked up by the City Council.
Asked when the grand announcement would be made, she showed surprise and then anger.
Muzila was irked that, as a member of the Independence Committee and the liaison between the committee and the business community, she would be kept in the dark about such an important development.
According to Muzila, any money that is pledged to the independence committee is strictly meant to be used for the independence celebrations.
” These celebrations are meant to give the public a chance to enjoy and appreciate what our country has achieved after 40 years of independence” she said.
Deputy City Clerk, Adam Chiliwa, confirmed the P60 000 donation from Tati Company but said that they are still budgeting and the money would probably go towards the independence luncheon.
”There are those who say that funding the Mayor’s Ball will be violation of public protocol, as the ball is selective and not open to the public,” he said, adding that he cannot say anything concrete as the committee is still in negotiations.
Contacted for comment, Tati Company’s Thuso Dikgaka said that it is their plan to fund the Mayor’s Ball but hastily added that nothing has been cast in stone yet, as they are still in negotiations with the independence committee.
”We intend to be involved in the independence festivities but at this point ,we have not finalised anything. The committee would be the one to give you a proper answer,” he said.
Muzila also said that it is surprising that money that is contributed towards giving the entire population of Francistown a chance to celebrate independence would be channeled towards an annual event that is not only exclusive but also budgeted for by the City Council.
Mayor Buti Billy could not comment on the matter as he had not been briefed by the Deputy City Clerk.
”I am not a member of the independence committee and I only get briefings from Chiliwa,” he said, adding that he would be better placed to comment on Monday.