Just over a week ago, Botswana Football Association booted shrewd sports administrator, Kitso Kemoeng from his plum post and replaced him with Susan Lawrence, the sport administrators were however not prepared to divulge reasons as to why Kemoeng was set aside, and instead gagged the media from inquiring about the ordeal. WeekendSport however, has information to the effect that, Kemoeng flouted various procedures and also let sums of money disappear under his watch.
Kemoeng, while CEO, is alleged to have allowed lawlessness to rule, while he used misguided logic and took for granted set procedure. This according to sources dragged football against the grain of progression and commercialisation which the country is struggling to achieve.
A probe carried out by this publication also reveals that there is also an assortment of accusations branded on Kemoeng but three major charges are bound to crucify him. The former Chief Executive Officer of Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) is accused of undermining his National Executive Committee (NEC) following quite a number of procedures having been conducted without the committee’s input.
It appears the first sensitive issue is with regards to one of the association’s football sponsorship deals. The sponsor, who is known to this publication’s cannot be disclosed for their own protection. A confidential report says that Kemoeng, under the supervision of past BFA president, Tebogo Sebego, engaged an agency to negotiate terms of the sponsorship that would later re-commit to the new deal. The name of the consulting company will also be undisclosed. It is alleged, during the deal, that the NEC was kept in the dark of developments, and further information suggests that the consulting agency was paid close to P500 000 as commission.
In another charge, Kemoeng is accused of having employed certain individuals, albeit with a restructuring exercise being underway. He is said to have employed his Personal Assistant willy-nilly and also creating out of the blue, a post for Executive Assistant. The latter post was crafted when Thabo Ntshinogang was asked to hold a fort at Botswana Premier League (BPL) as acting Chief Executive Officer pending the conclusion of matters surrounding the suspension of Bennett Mamelodi. This, according to information put more strain in the depleted BFA coffers.
The third charge, reports say, is somewhat linked with the second charge. It is reported that sometimes this month, Kemoeng approved that a C-licence course be held at Orapa. It is said money (to run the course to the end) unfortunately got depleted along the way. The association, as a means of recovery had to move the course back to Lekidi football centre, but his decision appears to have left the new regime fuming.
Kemoeng is said to have already replied to the accusations, throwing the ball back inside BFA court.
Efforts to solicit comment from him hit a snag as repeated calls were continually cut. But when speaking with this publication a week before his fall, he said, he did not want to discuss relations with his NEC, but however admitted to a have a good working relationship with his principal, Mac Lean Letshwiti. ‘‘As far as I am concerned, Letshwiti is a good man, a man of integrity and we are in good terms. He continued, ‘‘I have not heard of any ouster plot and as far as I am concerned I am working with this leadership.’’
Kemoeng acknowledged the issue of C licence course held at Orapa and took the blame upon himself. ‘‘ Yes of course the course was held at Orapa but there was a short sight on account of money, and I am still investigating how it might have happen of which i shall submit the report to my principals,’’ he said.
Kemoeng whose other name is Kagiso was hired in July 2015. He was in the run with former Township Rollers and Premier League chairman Walter Kgabung together with former Botswana Railways (BR) Chief Executive Officer, Taolo Sebonego. It came as no surprise when Kemoeng emerged the winner from the three-horse race. Although Sebonego is said to have shown a great deal of corporate language, his only undoing was putting together a footballing argument.
Sebonego’s disadvantage, according to reports, was that he is not knowledgeable about the game although he can learn quickly from his employers. Having led BR at some point, Sebonego did prove his mettle despite having to leave at some point. With a number of blunders and past failures at the hands of the chief executive officers at Lekidi, the panel did not want to start trying out new combinations and a decision to hire Kemoeng was seen to be in the interest of dousing flames from government around how the BFA manages its affairs.
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.