Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation deputy minister Tino Machakaire has weighed in on the jailing of music producers Fantan and Levels saying he wishes they could have been given lenient sentencing.
DJ Fantan, DJ Levels and Dhama were yesterday jailed for an effective six months for violating the Covid-19 regulations after they hosted a New Year’s crossover gig in Mbare on December 31. The gig attracted thousands of people, raising alarm as the country is grappling with the pandemic.
According to our Harare Bureau, Harare provincial magistrate, Mrs Vongai Guwuriro had initially jailed the trio for 12 months before setting aside six months of the sentence. The six months were set aside for three years on condition that they will not commit a similar offence within that period.
Commenting on this sentence yesterday, Machakaire said it was a bit harsh considering the role the Chillspot producers have played in developing talent from the popular high density suburb. The producers unleashed the likes of Enzo Ishall and Uncle Epatan and produced for many Zimdancehall artistes.
“My prayers and thoughts go out to Fantan, Levels and the entire Chillspot family. These young men have been very influential in the music industry. They have helped identify various talents, Enzo Ishall, Uncle Epatan and Herman to name just a few. The work they do at Chillspot is going a long way in creating employment for the ghetto youths and alleviating poverty among the ghetto youth.
“I am glad that the law took its course and rightfully. However, my wish would have been for lenient sentencing given that they admitted to their crime,” wrote Machakaire on his Facebook page.
He said that instead of jailing the producers, they should have been given community service and tasked to create awareness about the pandemic.
“The influence they have will go a long way in creating awareness among the ghetto youths on the reality that is Covid-19. My wish would have been for them to serve community service by giving back to the community in the form of awareness campaigns and using the power of music to educate the public.
“I fear that if they are locked up for long, it will undo the good they are doing for the ghetto youths. However, justice has been served and we cannot dispute,” wrote Machakaire.
Following news of the sentencing of the producers, there have been mixed feelings with some saying the sentence was too harsh. Some, however, said the sentence was fair considering the seriousness of the offence they committed especially considering that police had gone to lengths cautioning people against holding such events.