Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) has distanced itself from any association with the flop of the year that was Francistown Meat Festival. The event that was hyped both on print and social media for the last three months turned out to be a marketing gimmick that left patrons fuming.
Realising that things were not going according to plan, organisers attempted a last minute planning as some patrons who had purchased VIP tickets demanded a refund. “Where is the meat? I’ve been here for hours and not a steak is in sight,” fumed Onkemetse Joseph accusing organisers of lack of planning and benchmarking. Accusing fingers were pointed at BMC organisers of the inaugural Francistown Meat Festival who were blamed for the lack of meat. One of the organisers Theophillus Moduane said BMC brought the meat late in the afternoon which messed up their entire programme.
“It is one of the reasons why things did not turn out the way we planned them,” said Moduane. However, Tumisang Moatlhodi who was also part of the organising team said they had found the venue in a mess following Kelly Khumalo’s show the previous night. “A good chunk of our time was consumed as we tidied up in the morning,” she said in an interview. Another patron, Wadza Chite raised concern that the event was overhyped and they bought tickets with the hope to be entertained by a list of all the local artistes mentioned on the line-up. These included MMP Family known for their hit song Lebala ka nna. None of the big names on the list turned up which naturally angered a lot of patrons. “If it wasn’t for DJ Bunz for driving the blues away with his energetic set, I would also be demanding my money back,” said Chite. “I’m still angry at these guys because we bought tickets for P100.00 and they still demanded that we pay an extra P30.00 as car charge. That was never part of the package,” Chite said.
Meanwhile Botswana Meat Commission Head of Public Relations, Brian Dioka was not amused that the company’s name was being dragged in the mud by organisers who simply failed to plan their event. Dioka did not take kindly to allegations that the meat festival flopped because BMC pulled out at the eleventh hour. “We never had an agreement with them. They made false allegations that we pulled the plug at the eleventh hour, they misled people and robbed them and now they are using BMC as a scapegoat,” Dioka said. According to Dioka, a certain company had come to BMC offices in Francistown with a proposal inviting BMC to be partners in the Francistown Inter-Companies Networking and meat feasting day and five-a-side soccer tournament.
“They did not ask for any sponsorship. The proposal was clear that we were to set up a stall which we thought was a good idea,” Dioka explained. He said that two weeks later another group came to their premises and claimed ownership of the proposal. “They said the person who submitted it had left the country for Germany,” said Dioka. “BMC is guided by protocol; it is not a given that every proposal submitted will be approved in a finger snap. We participated at the Serowe show after they sent their proposal in January,” he said. Dioka advised members of the public to be vigilant lest they be shortchanged by unscrupulous promoters. He advised promoters to follow laid down procedures if they want their events to be successful.