Today, 21 January, the High Court granted bail to DJ Fantan and his colleagues after they chose to appeal against the harsh sentence they received from a magistrate earlier this month. DJ Fantan and his colleagues had pleaded guilty to hosting a New Year’s eve bash despite government admonishing the wider public to observe social distancing. Thousands of people attended the bash and pictures and videos appeared on social media.

Public anger at the stiff sentence

The prosecution of these entertainers was especially venomous with the prosecutor comparing their conduct with attempted murder. This prompted people to ask questions at how bigwigs and rich people are treated with differential treatment while those from poor neighbourhoods are harshly prosecuted. There were other parties but these were the only prosecuted. The judge seems to agree that the sentence was stiff as he opined that their appeal had good chances of success.

There has also been sympathy from the wider public who understand that musicians just like the rest of the informal sector are feeling the heat from the pandemic lockdowns. Most have been unable to earn any income while the government has not offered substantive financial assistance.