Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Chess elections looms under a dark cloud

Tough competition is expected in the coming Botswana Chess Federation (BCF) elective annual general assembly scheduled for May 27 in Kanye.  

Chess clubs and the game’s followers are going for the AGM amid confusion over interpretation of the BCF constitution. 

According to the BCF constitution, article 13 (VI): No person shall be eligible for election as member of the executive committee council unless he/she has not served a maximum of two consecutive terms in the committee. 

The mentioned clause is giving the BCF fraternity a headache. There are those who believe they should stand because the constitution was amended in 2013 and therefore everything should start from the day the constitution was amended. 

According to sources, there are those in the committee who wanted to continue serving chess because they believe the 2013 amendment gave them a leeway or option to continue if they were interested. 

A three-man race is expected for the position of the BCF presidency. They are Kenneth Mokhutshwane, Sinki Boikanyo and Mothokomedi Thabano. 

Sources have indicated that BCF public relations officer, Keenese Katisenge had wanted to stand but due to the confusion she withdrew her candidature. 

“Katisenge has served the federation very well and had want to stand for the position of presidency to continue giving back to the sport she loves but because of confusion and endless debate on the interpretation of the clause she decided not to stand,” said a club official. 

Contacted for comment, Katisenge said: “The nominations closed on Thursday and the election committee is the one responsible for election; I’m constrained to comment on election procedures.”  

She also affirmed that there are two contradicting interpretations of clause 13 of the constitution and BCF has sought legal opinion form their legal advisors. 

“We expect the elections committee to explain the confusion to the members and also if by any chance there are those who do not qualify to stand for elections we also expect the committee to clarify everything prior to the elections. The elections committee is expected to publish the names of those who are eligible next week, she said. 

Meanwhile, Katisenge said BFC had achieved a lot during her tenure in office. “BCF invested in grassroots development and the programme produced positive results,” she observed. 

“We produced young, rated and titled players during our tenure in office. These youngsters are from the ages of eight years to 18,” Katisenge said.

She further explained that in 2016 alone they managed to produce eight young rated and titled players which she described as a big achievement in the history of BCF. 

“We managed to retain and attract new sponsors. BCF leadership has managed to package and sell chess to different markets segments. Importantly we managed to partner with School Parents Teachers Associations (PTAs) and they were able to sponsor some of our tournaments. In the past BCF relied on government for sponsorships but partnering with PTAs was a fundamental achievement because it relies heavily on schools for development,” observed Katisenge. 

The other achievement Katisenge noticed was that her committee was able to have international representations in many tournaments. 

“We managed to send players to world championships such as the World Amateur Chess Championships, World Schools Chess Championships and World Youth Chess Championships,” Katisenge noted. 

BCF president, Tshenolo Maruatona will not be seeking reelection.

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