Botswana Football Association (BFA) National Executive Committee (NEC)’s decision to make aspiring regional office bearers fill nomination forms ahead of regional elections is threatening to put the association on the spotlight.
While those close to the regime say the exercise is just meant to check if the aspiring candidates have the support needed and ‘have applied for proper positions,’ those against the process say it is a vetting system meant to disqualify those against the current regime.
For those against the ‘vetting processes,’ the undertaking has the hallmarks of a similar process in South Africa that has currently halted the election of the South African Football Association (SAFA) office bearers.
Ahead of SAFA elections which were billed for March 24, two aspiring presidential candidates, Lucas Radebe and Tokyo Sexwale, were ruled out of contention after a vetting process.
In the aftermath of the vetting, former FIFA referee Andile ‘Ace’ Ngcobo, who survived the process and was billed to challenge incumbent president Danny Jordan, openly challenged the process saying ‘SAFA violated several of its own electoral codes.’
“If you look at what is happening right now, it is not dissimilar to that at SAFA. The BFA is deliberately violating its own electoral processes and this may result with Botswana football being in the same situation as SAFA sees itself in right now,” a source revealed to this publication.
According to the source, with the current regime losing support among those who voted it into power, it is now doing everything in its power to ensure that its supporters get back in positions of power.
“If they are not careful, just like in South Africa, we may end up having to call on FIFA to intervene and if processes are found to have been violated, then let FIFA take appropriate steps,” said the source.
The source said what is surprising is that the forms were issued by the BFA National Executive Committee (NEC), and not the Elections Committee.
“They (NEC) took the responsibility of the Elections Committee and authored the said forms. The process of checking or vetting is also not undertaken by the Elections Committee but rather a group of regime loyalists,” the source alleged.
Already, signs that the process will face legal challenges have sufficed, with former BFA President and now Notwane president, Tebogo Sebego, writing to the association asking for clarity on the matter.
The letter, which is dated 19 April and is addressed to the BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mfolo Mfolo, challenges the issuing of nomination forms by the BFA to aspiring regional office bearers.
“Following receipt of the said nominations forms, we wrote to the Secretary General of the First Division South to request further information pertaining to the propriety of the said forms,” so reads the letter, which has been passed to this publication.
In the said letter, Sebego queries the BFA CEO on whether he ‘is aware that all elections in the association fall under the jurisdiction of the elections committee, which was elected by the General Assembly.’
He also seeks the BFA to clarify ‘whether the said nomination forms were authored and/or issued by the Elections Committee.’
In the letter, Sebego points the BFA CEO to article 3(2) of the Electoral Code, which he says ‘demands that members of the NEC must not be in the elections body and by extension should not make any decision of the conduct of elections.’
“In terms of the BFA Electoral Code dated 29th June 2016, which code is required by FIFA statutes and adopted by the BFA General Assembly; Article 1 therefore reads as follows;
‘The code is applicable to all elections to Botswana Football Association (BFA) bodies and any other bodies of members affiliated to the BFA …” so reads the letter.
“We await your urgent response to the above questions and concerns in order to advice ourselves accordingly. The conduct of this election might question the validity of the outcome thereof if not properly addressed,” the letter concludes.
At the time of going to print, attempts by this publication to get the comment of BFA CEO hit a snag as he was said to be in a meeting.
Messages to his phone were also not replied while his phone also went off air immediately thereafter.