This past week, contestants for the Botswana Football Association (BFA) executive positions were left aghast as the BFA Electoral Committee sent them a letter seeking them to depose some affidavits.
The letter requiring affidavits was sent to all aspiring BFA National Executive Committee (NEC) members on the 6th July 2020 and was signed by the BFA electoral board Vice Chairperson Ntlogelang Modise.
In the letter, the aspirants are required to submit affidavits confirming that they ‘have been active in football’ and another affidavit by ‘the structure they represent confirming their position and date of appointment to the position in the structure.’
According to the letter, this was in line with Article 33.5 of the BFA constitution of 2019. The article stipulates that ‘in order for one to be eligible for election to a position in the BFA NEC, one has to have already been active in football before the elections.’
The aspirants were also required to submit ‘a letter of appointment or minutes supporting the appointment or election date to the said structure.’
For the opponents of the current BFA regime, the new requirements were ‘just an engineered witch hunt’ targeting some opponents of the regime.
“Rules of the game are being changed midway through the game,” one contender, who for the purpose of this article we will call contender Jay laments. “These are just knee-jerk requirements inclusions meant to target some of the contestants,” another says.
For these contestants, who commented on a condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, the change of rules midway through the election process is something alien.
For them, this is a signal of the extent to which the BFA Electoral Board would go to please the current regime, which they say is influencing the electoral board’s decisions.
“These additional requirements from the BFA Electoral Board are something we have never seen previously. There is nothing in the Electoral Code concerning these codes,” contender Jay decries.
These very same sentiments are shared by other contenders who say the requirements for affidavits by the BFA Electoral Board are very questionable.
“You can read the BFA Electoral Code, the BFA constitution or the BFA Ethics again and again and you will never see these anywhere,” one says.
According to the contestants, when the registrations started, they were given two forms to fill as per the electoral code requirements.
“The first form we were given was personal information form. In it, we had to fill all our personal details. The second was an integrity check which is also a requirement,” said the contestant.
Surprisingly, the contestant says when they were waiting for the release of names of potential candidates, the Electoral Committee shifted the goalposts.
“If you ask them, they will tell you they had an induction. At the said induction, they were supposed to compile the list of everything they would require from the candidates, which they did,” the aspiring contestant opined.
“Now, almost two weeks after names had been submitted, they then turn around to tell us to submit other documents, which by the way are not prerequisites according to the electoral code. If they were so required, they would have required us to submit them from the onset and would have not waited a full two weeks before requiring them,” said the contestant.
Interestingly, in the letter, there was no date set for the aspiring candidates to have submitted the said documents, sparking a fear that some documents may come late, thus delaying an already delayed process.
The contestants are worried that by the time the names are published, which may be a long time off as the BFA Electoral Committee still awaits all affidavits, they will be left with only two weeks to campaign, which would not be enough.
“Right now, we are left with less than four weeks before we go to the elections. For us, this is unfair. We cannot campaign as we are not supposed to say anything that may be deemed to be dragging the name of the association in the mud,” the contestant said.
“If we criticize them before the names are released, we risk suspensions. They have literally tied our hands behind our backs while they continue fighting with us,” the contestant continued.
“The current regime and those aligned to it are campaigning. We know that they have been given monies to traverse the country to make the so called COVID 19 relief assessments. They are using this as a cover to campaign,” the contestant concluded.
Meanwhile, attempts by this publication to get a comment from the BFA Electoral Board Committee proved futile at the time of going to press as the Chairperson’s number rang unanswered.