Thursday, October 22, 2020

GU committee on the dock as factional battles take centre stage

Football battles are continuing to take centre stage at local courts. On Friday, Gaborone United (GU) Chairman Rapula Okaile and his executive committee will be in the dock to fight for their survival as the legitimate leadership of the team. The Okaile led executive committee is facing defiance from some disgruntled supporters who allege that the current GU leadership is illegitimate.

The court case stems from the team’s divisive elective Annual General Meeting (AGM) which was held at the University of Botswana (UB) on the 11th of July last year. In the build up to the said AGM, some sections of the GU supporters had voiced some concerns about the legitimacy of Okaile and City Senne to stand for executive committee positions. They argued that the duo’s membership was falling outside the mandatory two years of uninterrupted membership needed for one to run for position in the team. 

“For one to stand for elections they must have two years of uninterrupted membership of the team.  The chairman and his secretary membership were not up to date. And the meeting that did not form quorum waived the clause to accept them to stand for the election,” concerned parties said. The concerned members dispute the newly acquired membership cards as people used them to stand for elections despite the two years that is required.

Despite the protests of the concerned supporters, Okaile and Senne, who are allied to the team financier Nicholas Zakhem managed to fend off the dissenting voices and stand for elections. Okaile then beat Tymon Katlholo for the position of the chairman while Senne won the Secretary General post against Kennedy Ramojela.

Aside from the concerns over Okaile and Senne’s legitimacy to stand for elections, the concerned supporters also questioned the legitimacy of the AGM.  According to the concerned supporters, the said meeting was staged despite the fact that the gathering was not forming a quorum.  

“The meeting was supposed to have adjourned and fresh meeting be called according to GU’s constitution.  People were not supposed to decide by raising up their hands whether to continue or not they could have guided by the constitution not by emotions,” said the concerned supporter. According to them a 2/3 of the registered members could have attended the meeting and upon failing to form a quorum that is when the second meeting could decide on the way forward. 

The other issue that they contend is the way elections were conducted. The aggrieved members say while the elders committee was supposed to conduct elections as per the dictates of the team constitution, their duty was disturbed by the involvement of the team’s financier in the running of elections. 

In the aftermath of the AGM, the concerned members approached the Registrar of Societies to voice their concerns and seek relief. However, with the Registrar failing to provide the required relief, they approached the courts seeking it to interdict the decisions of the AGM. 

The concerned group wants the court to set aside the decisions of the meeting as they are of the view that the meeting which ushered in new committee was unconstitutional. 

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