Following some intense lobbying, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership has finally acceded to demands to host its long-awaited elective General Assembly. However, the prompt announcement that elections will be held on October 10th has led many to question whether the BFA was pressureded to stage the elective assembly.
With the BFA taking long to host the elective assembly, a tense campaign and lobbying was undertaken by both supporters and opposing camps to get the association voting. This past week, the three BFA presidential candidates met with the Minister of Sports, Tumiso Rakgare, where he advised that the elective assembly be staged.
At the meeting, the Minister was said to be equally concerned at the lack of cohesion between the incumbent Maclean Letshwiti and his two presidential opponents Ookeditse Malesu and Tebogo Sebego.
Following the meeting, the BFA leadership swiftly moved and decided on the date and modalities of how the August assembly is going to be held. On Friday, the BFA announced that the assembly will be held virtually and simultaneously in four venues, Jwaneng, Gaborone, Palapye, Francistown.
Football commentator, Jimmy George believes the BFA National Executive Committee was never ready to stage the elective assembly. “They needed pressure from outside because it was not out of their consciousness to come up with the date,” observed George.
The BFA elective assembly is always surrounded by controversy every four years it is staged.
“The BFA NEC have not been upfront to host the assembly and they haven’t been upfront in engaging stakeholders. They only thing I remember them acting at supersonic speed was the stoppage of the leagues. Now they are not even concerned about football season or national team activities,” George explained.
Friends of Football spokesperson, Kesego Okie says her team is excited that finally the decision has been made to host the assembly.
“The announcement is well received. It confirms that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and we are delighted to get confirmation that what we have been working very hard for will finally take place,” she said.
“The elections as you know is a governance check for the BFA. We look forward to the 10th of October,” explained Okie.
Okie however refused to discuss elections because of the BFA elections regulations, adding that ‘what is important is that a date has been set and confirmed.’
“Our energies as a team are to ensure we focus on the elections and remind the voters once again that we are the most competent, visionary and trustworthy team suitable to restore, transform and grow Botswana football,” she narrated.
Asked if they have confidence that the elections will be free and fair, Okie said ‘not withstanding the Presidential candidates vetting debacle, they choose to remain positive and base our trust on the process.’
“We believe that the BFA Elections Committee will engage all teams accordingly to discuss the modalities of the elections, including arrangements for elections observers from all camps. We are proponents of fair play, and look forward to a free and fair election process,” she concluded.
His counterpart in Team Malesu, Kabelo Brown said they are excited about the date set for elections.
“We are looking forward to working with our various stakeholders and ensure we transform Botswana football,” he explained. He added that their team is ready to lead and govern football to prosperity.
On whether the BFA was pressured to set the election date, Brown said “we don’t want to speculate on the reasons why BFA released the date – however we believe that we may have contributed by asking for immediate elections – we doubt we were the sole voice in this.”
As Okie, Brown said they are positive that the BFA has structures designed to ensure free and fair elections.
“We don’t believe that they can be coerced or subdued in some way. It is our sincere hope and faith that the elections will be free and fair,” he said.
The resilient Brown believes that Team Malesu has supporters across the country. “Team Malesu believes in an open and transparent BFA – we believe that proceedings and the future of our administration of the BFA is guided by this principle,” says Brown.