Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Gaborone United divisive AGM leaves club polarised

The fallout from the Gaborone United (GU) Sporting Club Annual General Meeting (AGM) elections is expected to continue with allegations that newly elected Club President Doctor Fidelis Nkomazana, is likely to be purged. Nkomazana, who is the only remaining member of the anti Zachem axis in the current GU Executive Committee, is said to be under siege as the fallout from the GU AGM continues. In what was a divisive elective AGM for GU, it was the faction aligned to the club’s millionaire financier Nicholas Zachem that won the polls.

In the lead up to the polls, the GU financier was accused of financing a certain cabal of ‘his cronies’ to take over office as he tries to consolidate his control of the club. The stance by the construction magnate was said to have polarised the GU family, something which is said to have irked the ire of the club’s Committee of Elders. The situation was not helped by Zachem himself as he was a constant during the AGM and was part of the committee that oversaw elections. The presence of the club’s financier solicited indignation from the Nkomazana and Tymon Katlholo axis, who questioned whether it was right for the Club’s financier to be present, more especially as his presence was considered an intimidation as he was said to have threatened to pull out of the team if his preferred candidates lost elections.

The intimidation was even more palpable as the election procedure dragged for a long time as factions failed to agree on how to conduct the elections. Speaking on condition of anonymity as the elections procedure dragged on, one prominent member of the club questioned the presence of Zachem, saying as a Club Director, his concerns should have been on the club’s commercial arm, Soccer Dynamics. “He is causing unnecessary confusion. While he owns 51 percent of the shares, he (Zachem) should know that his shares are attached to Soccer Dynamics, not GU which is a society,” the source said. Approached for another comment, one supporter opined that GU should just elect whoever Zachem wants to avoid pushing the financier out of GU. “Kana ba abo ba batla go senya team. Fa ba ka koba Zachem, team e e tla tsamaya, mme nna ga kena go e latela gape ko leroleng,” (loosely translated, “they want to destroy this team. if they chase away Zachem, this team will go back to the lower divisions and I personally will not go back to rescue it again,)’ the supporter said.

Another sticking point was the determination of who is eligible to vote as allegations of vote rigging started flying over. Prior to the elections, the club was said to have been inundated with new applications for memberships. As a result, new members, some of who had registered overnight, were allowed to vote using only the receipts they got the previous day. “The problem is that the GU constitution is silent. This was no ordinary election as we saw young kids and new members allowed to vote. The problem is that the GU constitution is very silent on these two areas and it will therefore always be open to exploitation and vote rigging. It is something that we need to tighten to avoid the same things in future,” another interviewee quipped.

With Zachem’s interest well known and his campaign for the anti Nkomazana Katlholo axis documented, some members were further irked by his active involvement in the election process as a polling officer. They argue that the financier’s involvement in overseeing the election was an infringement in the constitution, as it stipulates that overseeing election processes is a duty of the club’s Committee of Elders, of which Zachem is not a member. In the ensuing elections, Zachem’s preferred candidates had a clean sweep of all seats on offer, save for the position of presidency where Nkomazana was unopposed after his opponent pulled out on the eve of elections.

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