There appears to be no ceasefire between warring Mochudi Centre Chiefs factions as the team battles a poignant war of ownership and identity.
The matter is now compounded by the contrasting faces of Botswana Football Association (BFA) and its regional structures who keep on sending mixed reactions regarding the status of the team. A group commonly led by one Tsieng Ramocha has since written to BFA once again requesting the Letswhiti led administration to try and normalize the legal standing of Mochudi Centre Chiefs before the matter incapacitates the state of domestic football.
The group states that Centre Chiefs is torn apart and as a result, the two warring factions are seen to be fighting fire with fire. The letter written to BFA has implored the association to attend to the issue within 14 days, lest it is taken for further mediation with FIFA, the world football governing body. When asked for clarity, Centre Chiefs’ long standing media liaison Clifford Mogomotsi said people dwell too much in history.
He explained that all events that took place before the December 2016 court order are no longer relevant. According to him, the only explanation that his group is ready to give is about everything that happened after court. Mogomotsi said, “it is time to move on, reports that we are registered at as a trust is false, in fact we have de registered this trust last year June.” He continued, “Just last week, the Kgatleng region ratified that we are no longer a trust, but exist only as a society.”
The lingering negotiations about the club, once reached Lobatse high court for legal redress. Information shows that the court ordered both parties to form a transitional committee that was later tasked with conducting a thorough financial audit between periods of 2007 and June 2017. But as the club rumbles through different phases, it is noted that the court still recognizes Mochudi Centre Chiefs as a society.
WeekendSport has also discovered that the said transition never worked together as per the court order. Both parties continued to take a swipe at each other. A party known to have registered the Trust is said to have refused the auditing exercise- a claim one opposing group has shown in the letter that is now in the hands of BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mfolo Mfolo.
While Ramocha’s group continues to claim that the trust was never dissolved, a team which comprises of Mogomotsi and Raymond Tsheko among others say Chiefs has already done away with the matter and, in process, has affiliated as a society at the BFA. This is evidently supported by a BFA letter authored by one Setete Phuthego on APRIL 10 2018 that in indeed Centre Chiefs is affiliated as a society.
“This serves to confirm that Mochudi Centre Chiefs Sporting Club has affiliated to the Botswana Football Association as a society. This information is contained in CAF club licensing application which has been submitted to the first instance body and subsequently accepted by the same committee,” reads part of the letter.
Notwithstanding that, the other group still questions the authenticity and reliability of the Mogomotsi group. They are saying there are no records that show that the trust has been dissolved, and if indeed this has happened, the National Executive Committee (NEC), as per procedure, should be the one body accepting and ratifying the change and not the regional structure.
It is why on the 17th of April 2018, the acting Secretary General of Kgatleng region Mirror Pilane wrote asking for the umpteenth time for the club to clarify its affiliation status. The letter further explained that “as per the Kgatleng records, of club affiliation of 31st MAY 2017, Mochudi Centre Chiefs affiliation is recorded as a trust.” While the meditation is believed to have reached Bogosi at Kgatleng, there seems to be no conclusion ahead. Is Chiefs a society or a Trust? The question is yet to be conclusively answered.
Chronology of events
11 November 2013 Chiefs attempts to dissolve society
4th December 2013 Civil and National Registration asks Chiefs to submit a copy of constitution Also asks for annual returns for 2012-2013
24th March 2014 Chiefs registered as Trust, Kgatleng Regional FA informed
28th April 2014 Chiefs Trust affiliation status accepted, pays P 5000
27th April 2015 BFA confirms Chiefs Trust
10th June 2016 BFA asks Chiefs to clarify affiliation status
20th July 2016 Chiefs SOCIETY says it was never dissolved
12th December 2016 The matter goes to court
22 February 2017 Chiefs transitional committee formed
30th June 2017 Chiefs attempt to dissolve the trust
10th April 2018 BFA confirms Chiefs as Society
17th April 2018 Kgatleng region says Chiefs is still a trust
Amid the confusion surrounding the date of the Botswana Football Association (BFA) elections, the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, met with three presidential candidates on Thursday morning to discuss a plethora of problems bedevilling the domestic game.
The candidates are Maclean Letshwiti, the current President, Tebogo Sebego, the firm challenger of the BFA throne, together with Ookeditse Malesu who enters the race for the first time in his sporting career. There were other two unnamed officials who are said to be representatives from the sport ministry.
The Sport minister is said to have adopted a hard-nosed approach to register his disappointment and worry that the uncertainty of the upcoming elections have injured the administration of the local game.
Highly placed sources at the Sport ministry say that the minister’s ‘no gloves barred’ approach comes at the behest of the BFA’s constant negative headlines regarding their leadership style as of going into the elections.
It is said that Rakgare was also worried that the current administration is keeping the other two camps in the dark regarding the planning and processes bordering on election issues. This, he said has led to unnecessary speculations and back biting that is not needed to lift the game at a time when it is on its knees.
He was to rattle a few feathers at one incident when he called all the three leaders of the game to put their houses in order. As if that was not enough, the minister called on the three lobby groups to desist from serving personal interests but put focus on developing the game.
Interestingly, sources point out that the minister was livid but urged both Letshwiti and Sebego groups to refrain from tarnishing the good image of the ministry. This, he said in response to wide ranging allegations that he is taking sides as campaigns are ongoing.
The Sebego group accuses him of de campaigning Sebego and having a soft spot for Team Letshwiti while the same Letshwiti group is saying the same thing about the minister as having taking curious interest in Sebego camp.
The minister is alleged to have told the leaders that if they do not change their leadership style of protecting those looting public funds, his ministry would intervene even if it means attracting the wrath of FIFA, which is known for its notorious sanctions when countries do not toe the line. He urges BFA to be accountable at all the times they will cut the annual subventions that goes to them, sources claim.
This is not for the first time that the BFA was lectured on good governance. At one incident in 2015, former Minster of Sport Thapelo Olopeng dressed down the then Tebogo Sebego leadership regarding good governance.
BFA was at the time closely monitored by the ministry. Instead of the usual transactions that normally go through BFA, national team players received their allowances straight from government in the form of cheques. To demonstrate that government has taken a firm stand against BFA, players’ allowances were no longer routed through the association.
Nobody from the said meeting will address this publication enquiry all indicating that the consultation is never meant for public consumption.
If everything goes according to plan, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) will hold its annual general assembly next month through a virtual conference.
There has been much uncertainty as to how and when the congress will be held seeing as how COVID-19 protocols remain stringent on gatherings.
Sources speaking with this publication say the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the association has agreed to hold the congress within COVID-19 zones, consequently dispelling all the lingering doubts surrounding the life and soul of the assembly.
As it stands, there are nine COVID -19 zones in Botswana. The association is therefore contemplating to rely within four zones where live streaming will take centre stage for the first time in the history of BFA elections.
The congress was first billed for August 8th but was postponed to August 22nd. However, the second date could not see the light of the day as the country recorded a second rise of coronavirus cases that promptly led to greater Gaborone going into yet another lockdown.
The association has been procrastinating over the virtual congress idea with the election agenda remaining a sticky issue. Many advices came flooding that the association is free to make any decision about the congress but should be very careful not to compromise the integrity of the vote.
Sources indicate to this paper that the association is likely to rely on four COVID-19 zones, namely Gaborone, Francistown, Jwaneng and Palapye. The need to plant the meeting on virtual technologies hinges on the fact that the COVID -19 health protocols do not permit people to cross zones to hold meetings.
Information gleaned from various sources is that the association is looking to rely on four zones primarily because of the limited number of personnel under the electoral board. There are five members consisting of this committee and by the look of things; the association will not be allowed to outsource more election overseers at the eleventh hour. Sources argue that the whole cautious exercise is meant to avoid complaints that may arise after elections are held.
The virtual meeting comes after many failed attempts by the association to convince the Kereng Masupu led Task Force to give out a special dispensation. On many occasions, the Task Force refused to allow for the assembly to go on saying “football is not a priority.”
The assembly is expected to be held next month but the exact date still remains a subject of speculation. In the end, Tebogo Sebego will stand again for the second time to unseat Maclean Letshwiti while Ookeditse Malesu is standing for the first time to try and wrestle for BFA power.
The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, is eager to lead crunch talks that will consequently see Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) becoming one authoritative sport entity.
The appointment of one Tuelo Serufho to the plum position of BNSC Chief Executive Officer two week ago has further catalysed the intention to merge the sports bodies to avoid the long standing complaints of duplication of roles by the two.
Serufho was replacing Falcom Sedimo whose contract was not renewed.Serufho, ironically is the longest serving CEO of BNOC and also a board member of BNSC.“One of our aims is to form a robust sport body to centralize and improve decision making processes and maybe the time to resuscitate BNSC/BNOC merger is now,” Rakgare briefly shared.
The impending move is highly meant to improve effective functioning, governance and performance of sports in the country both locally and globally.Should this see the light of day, Botswana would have done itself a favour and it would start sending a handful of athletes to international competitions.
The amalgamation of BNSC/BNOC talks have been in the pipelines but discussions were aborted two years ago without clear reasons. The creation of this all-encompassing sport institution is overdue according to the minister.
“It is in fact our mandate to make sure this happens, it is overdue and by next year we hope to have finalised our position paper,” Rakgare added.The creation of the looming body is borne out of lessons learnt from various sports governance models around the world.
In South Africa, the sports ministry facilitated discussions to merge National Olympic Committee of South Africa (NOCSA) and the South African Sports Commission. Their authoritative sports body is now called South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC).
With the South African model well in place, Botswana is urged to bench mark and create a sport body as a civic society-based organisation as required by the statutes of international sports bodies.The name of the local sport body is mooted and the minister refused to give a hint. But he is optimistic that the body will be the vanguard organization of sport in the country.
He emphasized that the sports organisation should be a purposeful guardian for governance and management of sports and be the required defining figure of the role of sports in Botswana’s communities.Talks to revamp and rebuild these sports bodies come at a time when BNSC is restructuring.
When Sedimo was still at the helm, he wanted to phase out some positions which he felt were unnecessary.BNSC receive close to 53 million Pula as grants from the government through the Ministry of Youth, Sports development and Culture empowerment while BNOC takes a figure a closer to that.