The Botswana Football Association (BFA) National Executive Committee (NEC) is alleged to have fired the association’s Vice President Administration Tariq Babitseng. According to reliable sources within the NEC, Babitseng, who was still serving a suspension, was expelled from the BFA during the NEC Board meeting which was held this past Thursday. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source revealed that of the nine NEC members who were present at the meeting, five voted for the BFA VP Administration to be fired, while the other four voted against. The issue of Babitseng has long divided the NEC, with sports politics said to be the motive behind his suspension and now his expulsion.
With some members of the NEC said to have been absent from the meeting, sources say the anti Babitseng clique ambushed the proceedings to capitalise on their numerical advantage and expel him. “During the meeting, some of the NEC members like Suzie Montsho, who is in Canada on sports related business and Basadi Baboletse Akoonyatse were absent and this made for the anti Babitseng to have a numerical advantage. They took the opportunity then to do away with him,” the source revealed. The firing of Babitseng is said to have caused a rift among the NEC, with some questioning the legality of the process. “Truth be told, the process of firing the Babitseng from his position as the VP Administration was very flawed. When he was suspended, a commission of inquiry was set to investigate the allegations against him and nothing wrong was found against him. In fact, several BFA were found to have been in the wrong and were charged. No charge was brought against Babitseng,” the source revealed.
According to the source, under normal circumstances, Babitseng should have been informed of the findings of the investigations. The source said in this case, the anti Babitseng clique, in haste, jumped the gun and ditched procedure. “This is like the policemen investigating someone for murder and sentencing that person to death without him getting a chance to answer for himself. Laws of true justice were not followed,” the source revealed. “We are not saying Babitseng should not be fired, but that proper procedures must be followed. If he is found to be guilty, he must be fired, but that should be after he has gone through disciplinary hearings as is the norm,” said the source.
Reached for comment, Babitseng reserved his comments, saying he is still awaiting official word from the BFA. “All I can tell you at the moment is that I am still awaiting a report from the BFA regarding the investigation they carried out on me. I am yet to receive that report or at least to hear its contents, though I hear it has already been released,” Babitseng said. While refusing to comment any further, Babitseng has always maintained he will fight back should he be expelled from the NEC. According to a source, even the BFA President, Tebogo Sebego, informed the Thursday NEC meeting that he finds it difficult to write Babitseng an expulsion letter as his firing is flawed. Speaking in an earlier interview following his suspension from the BFA pending investigation into his alleged misdemeanors, Babitseng vowed that he will fight what he termed a witch hunt by some NEC members. “This for me is just a witch hunt by some members of the committee who are after me. I believe this is just a way of them trying to get me off football but I am not going anywhere,” Babitseng responded defiantly.