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Resignations throw BAA into chaos


The build up to the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) Special General Meeting scheduled for April 1st this year can be best described as a comedy of errors. Following the resignation of four executive committee members, the Association has been thrown into pandemonium.


Affiliates are said to be bracing themselves for an April fool’s prank as the association is at sixes and sevens over which constitution to use to fill up the four vacant posts in the national committee – the BAA finds itself having two contradicting documents as the constitution.
This confusion, according to the affiliates, means that the association will not fill the vacant positions as per expectation, as loopholes from the two constitutions which are ‘used interchangeably’ cannot solve the puzzle the association finds itself in.


The two documents are littered with loopholes which could haunt the association in the future. The new constitution which was amended in 2015 at Oasis Motel is yet to be ratified by the general membership hence it cannot be put to use at the upcoming meeting. On the other hand, the old constitution has been trampled upon following the resignation of the fourth EXCO member (PRO) on the 6th of this month.


While the association finds itself deep in constitutional confusion, some affiliates have suggested that on April fool’s day, they come up with a special resolution to allow for the vacant posts’ filling using neither constitution. Affiliates believe that, after that is achieved (filling vacant posts), they can deliberate on how to manage the crisis without any pressure. Other Members are buying the idea amid qualms from others who want the old constitution to be followed, with the seating members dissolved.


The livid affiliates will not let sleeping dogs lie as they want to clean the stench suffocating at the athletics association. “Those in the committee should vacate it and we call the elections using the old constitution. We are not going to rush anything, BNSC could run the office if anything. We don’t mind if we can vote in May we want to sweep athletics,” said one member.


According to the 2011 (old) constitution clause 12.7, “In the event that four positions fall vacant, the executive committee shall automatically dissolve and the remaining officers shall vacate office immediately. The BAA secretariat shall take over and call a special General meeting within 21 days.” Nonetheless after that fourth resignation early this month, the secretariat never took over and the meeting has been called outside the 21 days. Further, the constitution (old) stipulates that with four positions falling vacant the association shall assemble for the whole EXCO elections, but surprisingly the meeting invitation was penned by (EXCO member) treasure Brian Mosweu and it shall decide the fate of only four vacant positions contrary to the constitution as per the new constitution.


The new constitution which Mosweu ‘erroneously quoted’ in the invitation letter, cannot be allowed to prevail because “some of the positions which some EXCO members are currently holding are not there in the new constitution, meaning that the positions are null and void like the Treasurer’s. The new constitution has a total structure which we have not agreed upon as the general assembly like the three Vice Presidents while we have one President. So what positions are we going to fill? Are the positions consistent with the current structure as per the old constitution?” Francistown Athletics Club (FAC) Secretary Raymond Phale rhetorically asked in a letter addressed to BAA Secretariat dated March 13 2017.


Phale further advised, “We have observed that the remaining EXCO members are eager to continue serving the athletics family and we do not want to deny them that chance, yet we want proper and good governance to prevail.” Gaborone Runners Club (GRC) has also expressed worry over the unfolding crisis. “We suggest that the following actions should immediately be implemented; reversal of your letter dated 10th March 2017, vacation of office by the remaining members of the Executive committee. Taking the office by the BAA Secretariat and issuance of the statement to that effect, countdown of 21 days to elections,” a letter undersigned by Zambia Champi recommended.


With the Special resolution on the cards, some are throwing their names to fill the posts. Botlhale Paphane, Zambia Champi, Thari Mooketsi and Tsoseletso Magang are rumoured to be eyeing the Presidency while Kenneth Kikwe is setting his eyes on the VP post, former PRO Ipolokeng Ramatshaba, Lulu Basinyi and Argo Lefatshe are vying for the same portfolio. Only Tsoseletso Magang had showed interest in the Secretary General post according to sources.

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Sport

Rakgare addresses BFA presidential candidates

21st September 2020
Minister Tumiso Rakgare

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.

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Sport

Virtual meet for BFA elections

21st September 2020
Malesu

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.
BFA President: Letshwiti
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.

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Sport

Talks to merge BNOC, BNSC resurface

14th September 2020
BNOC,BNSC merge

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.

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