After failing to organise an annual general meeting on a couple of occasions, the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) finally paraded an Athletics Pitso last weekend – but there can only be one conclusion, the Association has a long way to go before it finds peace and puts its house in order.
The Pitso left much to be desired as far the administration of the code is concerned. By 8am on Saturday, the time slated for the meeting, the members could not form a quorum. This forced the BAA officials to make emergency calls to Tlokweng and Palapye Athletics club (fringe members) to coerce them to show face and help them form a quorum and commence the meeting.
The Pitso finally started two hours later at 10am. Affiliates had boycotted the weekend gathering because the Association had postponed a similar meeting a fortnight ago without proper communication to the affiliates. The snub was a filtration of anger directed at the troubled BAA.
The meeting, as it was anticipated was off to a heated start, with affiliates questioning why there is no AGM but rather a Pitso which is not enshrined in the constitution. Other questions that dominated the floor were with regards to absenteeism – particularly on the part of Tlokweng, Lobatse, Palapye and Matshelagabedi clubs which are accused of being regular loafers in BAA organized events.
Clause 13.12 of BAA rules and regulations clearly states: “Any club that misses to participate in three consecutive BAA official activities shall be assumed to be nonexistent and the Secretary General shall scrape it out of BAA affiliate list and inform it in writing immediately.”
The said quartet is said to be trampling on the regulations while the powers that be are failing to act accordingly. This, sources say, is because the EXCO members “have connections with these clubs hence they develop cold feet when it is time to crack the whip”.
At the pitso it also surfaced that while other clubs are not paying the annual affiliation fees, they continue to be regular players in BAA activities. “Each member club shall be required to pay the approved annual subscription for continued membership of the association. The subscription shall fall due on the 1st of January,” BAA constitution reads in part. The two clubs, Maun and UB are accused of this transgression – notwithstanding this, athletes and officials from the latter club dominate the national team.
“This is just pettiness from the affiliates, because if you look all the clubs are dormant. If we can apply these rules then there will be no competitions, because should we apply double standards it will be unfair to others. All our clubs do not necessarily feature in all our activities,” BAA spokesperson, Roland Masalila said.
Meanwhile the athletics body’s plethora of potentially corrupt activities was also exposed on Saturday. Some of the executive members were on the receiving end as one of them is alleged to be applying for sponsorship for an international trip and was using the association funds. “That’s not true, if you think otherwise I will show you my passport to confirm,” the concerned official said.
Some of the EXCO members were also accused of conflict of interest as they continue to buy the association’s assets. Six LCD televisions were sold under dubious circumstances. Glody Dube is one of those who bought the LCDs for his business. The assets were sold under the pretext that BAA had to pay the BNSC affiliation fee of P1500. “They were sold in my absence and when I was told I used the opportunity because I needed them for my business, the talks that I never deposited cash are unfounded,” Dube said.
As a culmination of the accusations, Dube is expected to tender his resignation to BAA soon following his declaration to the membership that he was leaving.
Various reasons explain his resignation; more profound is that his department is failing dismally. “The mushrooming of marathons in the country is one of his failures. Failure to develop coaches and athletes does not put him on the right spot either.
The association’s lousy schedule where there are no competitions is also his grey area,” one member who refused to be named said.
“I want to focus on my athletics projects because I don’t want to be conflicted while in office,” Dube said.
Athletics is one of the sporting activities that for many years has been consistently performing extremely well in international competitions. One of the reasons is the availability of qualified and experienced coaches, who have been working tirelessly on the ground to ensure that they scout talent and develop more athletes.
For the first time after eons, football clubs plying their trade in the elite league are walking in the shadow of the undefined with nothing concrete agreed and on sight before the commencement of the football season.