Tuesday, November 24, 2020

BFA election appeals dismissed on technicality

The much-anticipated fireworks at the Botswana Football Association (BFA) elections appeals fizzled out like a rain-soaked firecracker as they were dismissed on technicalities.

The appeals had been launched by Senki Sesinyi and Maokaneng Bontshetse, both of whom had campaigned under the Team Sebego banner.

Sesinyi and Bontshetse were campaigning for the BFA second and first vice presidents respectively.

Whereas the appellants had been confident going into the appeal hearings, they were left with questions still unanswered as merits of their appeals were never discussed.

The appeals were dismissed as the appellants were said to have not served other interested parties in the matter, primarily those they contested against.

It was also deemed that the appellants should have appealed for recourse on positions that affected them only and not all positions.

Speaking in an interview following the dismissal of the appeals, Sesinyi’s legal representative Kagisano Tamocha said it was a travesty that they never got to discuss the merits of the appeals.

According to Tamocha, it was surprising that the BFA Elections Appeal committee dismissed the appeals due to the appellants not serving all those they contested against.

“Their stand was that the onus of informing the other interested parties was with the appellants, which I believe is wrong,” he explained.

Tamocha said the BFA electoral code stipulates that the appeals be addressed to the BFA secretariat, which his client did.

“Both the BFA electoral code and constitution are silent on who should serve the other interested parties. Our belief was that this onus lay with the BFA secretariat while the BFA Elections Committee’s stance was that it lay with the appellants,” he said.

Tamocha said had the elections appeals gone forth, his client stood a better chance as they had a very strong case.

On the way forward, Tamocha said he was still to discuss with his client to see if there were any other ways to find recourse.

“If this was any other matter and not football, we would head to the courts to seek legal recourse,” he said.

“However, since it is football, this will be a drastic approach which may result with FIFA imposing a ban on my client,” he explained.

The two losing candidates are appealing against what they deemed irregularities in the elections which gave a Maclean Letshwiti led BFA a new four-year mandate to run the affairs of local football.

Among their complaints, the two appellants contend the use of non-members of the electoral board in vote counting process contrary to article 26 of the BFA electoral code.

Other complaints included the failure to use different colours in ballots for different rounds, a spoiled vote for Bontshetse and a perceived lack of secrecy of the ballot.

Meanwhile, BFA first vice president Pelotshweu Motlogelwa says football must move past the election phase to allow the sport to get back to normality.

As one of the contestants whose win was being appealed, he said the local football community now needs to unite for the good of the sport.

“We have to get back to business. Football has to go on,” Motlogelwa said when asked for his opinion on the election verdict.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper

The Telegraph November 25

Digital edition of The Telegraph, November 25, 2020.