Wednesday, April 21, 2021

BOKA elections: Does Bathai wield a hidden dagger?

Martial arts is an honourable discipline. But it also has its own dark side. One such is the Ninjitsu practice of Boryaku.

Alongside more orthodox and mainstream measures, Boryaku includes use of unorthodox strategies and tactics, as well as manipulation of politics and exploitation of other current events to assist in subtle influence of the opponent.

Ahead of the Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) elective Annual General Meeting (AGM) scheduled for this coming April, many accuse the current BOKA president Tshepo Bathai of employing tactics akin to Boryaku in an attempt to hold on to his presidency. 

Bathai is in a three-way tie match with Shihan Mpho Bakwadi of Hayashiha and Keorapetse Dube for the BOKA presidential position.

However, sources close to the campaign say with pressure mounting, Bathai is trying to exploit whatever available loopholes in the BOKA constitution to subdue his opponents.

Of recent, the BOKA president has been accused of dishing suspension letters left right and centre to opponents and those who he believes may influence the outcome of the elections not to go his way. 

One such is the Botswana Shokukai Karate Union under the leadership of Socca Moruakgomo.

Shukokai has allegedly been slapped with suspension which was said will be lift in March 31st if they do what is right and comply. 

It is alleged that BOKA recently wrote a letter to the Registrar of Societies in January requesting for affiliates membership status. 

In response, the Registrar of Societies is said to have informed the BOKA leadership that all societies are still active except Shokukai.

According to the source, the Registrar of Societies pointed out that Shokukai was indeed registered only that they misplaced their document. 

While they are not against the suspension of non-compliant clubs, they source says it is the double standards applied on such matters which raises eyebrows.

They point to the matter of KenwaKai Karate Do Botswana under the leadership of Dube and Ryushi-Kan International Karate Do Africa under Isaiah Ramontshonyana as a pointer.

While Dube’s Shitoryu has been suspended, Ryushi-Kan is allegedly being treated as an affiliate of BOKA despite not being a registered club.

“Bathai is sabotaging people by handing them suspension letters. As for Dube and Ramontshonyana issue, the latter is not an affiliate with BOKA and style has not been registered at all. But because he is the BOKA Public Relations Officer and a friend to Bathai, he gets away with murder while Dube, who has complied, was served with a suspension letter,” says the source.

When reached for comment, Bathai points out that no one has been given suspension letters. 

He says if they were truly suspended, they would not be campaigning for Presidency.

“My understanding is that no letters of suspension were issued those guys who are campaigning now. They have been given clarity from BOKA that they are in correct standing to take part in the elections. But I would truly appreciate it if they bring forth the letters sent them of suspension,” a defiant Bathai says.

The BOKA president went on to point out that he is not aware of who the contenders for presidency will be, saying names of candidates will be made public on Monday.

Concerning Dube, he says he never knew he was even running for presidency. “I honestly did not know he was running, but we will see Monday who the candidates are,” he concludes.

According to another source, Bathai’s surprise at Dube’s candidacy stems from Shitoryu Kenwakai Do International long-standing suspension from BOKA.

The style’s suspension dates as far back as April 26th 2019 and the suspension is yet to be lifted as the style leaders are yet to be called for hearing.

Since suspension to date, Shitoryu Kenwakai has not been taking part in anything to do with BOKA. 

When reached for comment, Dube said he cannot make any comment as they are still engaging with lawyers to find a way forward.

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