Monday, February 26, 2024

Botswana Athletics Association AGM turns into a ‘boardroom brawl’

Tantrums, failed coup├®s, threats of resignation and that one odd resignation were the order of the day as the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) hosted its Annual General Meeting (AGM) this past weekend.

And for the second consecutive time, BAA President Thari Mooketsi survived a vote of no confidence, by a single vote.

Unlike in the past meetings where the BAA’s National Executive Committee (NEC) had tried hard to conceal the simmering tensions within the NEC and presented a united front against the affiliates, this time around affiliates and observers were witness as the NEC members fought amongst themselves.

The AGM got off to a fiery start as the BAA President informed affiliates to ignore a letter from his secretariat, which stated that only 10 clubs had paid their annual subscription.

“All the clubs, except the University of Botswana have paid. The quorum has thus been formed and the meeting can continue. That communication from the Secretary General is not official,” Mooketsi declared.

The announcement solicited an interjection from the BAA Secretary General Gilbert Keakantswe who stood by the correspondence, saying that it is official. The BAA Secretary General accused the Mooketsi of not being truthful.

Mooketsi however found an ally in his Vice President Glody Dube, who corroborated that clubs had paid. Dube said it was not the clubs’ fault as they clubs did not have BAA account numbers.

He said the clubs had however sent in their subscription fees. Keakantswe interjected again, saying the Vice President was being economical with the truth.

As the NEC haggled for about two hours, the affiliates started turning the screws. They wanted answers, and they were getting none. They turned their eyes on the Secreatary General and the Treasurer, ‘Have all the clubs paid?’ they asked. The Secretary General stood by his version that only ten clubs have paid and he had written the contentious letter based on this. The treasurer corroborated the secretary general’s version of events, he had only got subscription fees from ten clubs.

With pressure mounting from affiliates who wanted clarity as to where the subscription fees went, Dube stood up. The fees had been paid but the money was used to help run the national cross country finals, it had not reached the treasurer. With more than two hours gone with no tangible progress, the affiliates then informed the NEC to go outside whilst they (affiliates) decide what to do, Mooketsi, as is now typical, threw his toys out.

“Ke le President wa BAA, ke tsaya tshwetso, of what is going to happen… fa re le fana, ke nna ke etelelang pele discussion… Ga re kake ra tswelela go bua kgang e e leng gore go clear ke communication breakdown. Fa ele gore go na le metsametsano, ke a lemoga gore go na le metsametsano… nna ke bona gore go ya ko ntle, ena ke ya rona mo ofising. Ga re kake ra e resolver gompieno… we have to look at the agenda ya gompieno, issue e ya gore who has affiliated who has not affiliated, re tshwanetse go e sorter out as the executive committee,” the BAA President ordered.

The affiliates would however have none of this, they wanted the NEC out of the AGM while they decided what to do, something which Mooketsi now agreed to, albeit reluctantly.

But before they could go out, another issue cropped out. Some affiliates representatives have not been paid their dues by their regional coordinator Kenneth Kikwe, who happened to be against Mooketsi.

Suddenly, Mooketsi smiled, he had his toys back, and he did not want to go out, at least not for now.

“Now this is news,” he said delightfully. Kikwe responded, he had not used the money on his personal capacity.

According to him, there had been problems and he had told those concerned about it. Eventually, the executive committee relented; they went out, leaving their fate in the hands of their affiliates.

In the absence of the executive, the affiliates, through a majority decision decided to call in the executive and vote on a motion of no confidence in the BAA President. However, just as in the past Ordinary General Meeting, Mooketsi survived as those wanting him out fell one vote short of removing him.

With a two thirds majority from the 18 voting clubs needed, 11 voted in the affirmative, five voted against with the last being a spoilt vote. The vote meant the AGM continued with Mooketsi given a reprieve to fight another day. The fractious meeting however had one casualty as one of the BAA NEC’s additional member, Kenneth Kikwe resigned.


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