Thursday, October 28, 2021

High noon for BFA leadership as teams question constitutional amendments

Botswana Football Association (BFA) leadership’s credibility is in for some reckoning. Some football teams are protesting what they feel is the ‘fraudulent’ amendment of the association’s constitution.

This week, some teams were said to be writing letters to the BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Goabaone Taylor seeking clarity on the amendments.

The said letters were said to be copied to the Registrar of Societies as well as Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) to make them aware of ‘the fraudulent document.’ 

According to close sources, teams which have written to the BFA CEO wants her to explain whether due process was followed when the amendments were made.

The teams’ protests follow their receiving of the new constitution which allegedly bears the stamp of the Registrar of Societies and is dated 25th June 2021.

Citing some clauses which they say were amended without proper procedure, the teams want the 2021 BFA constitution and the 2019 version to be reversed without delay and be ‘viewed as unlawful documents.’ 

“The said constitution carries a number of changes that were never discussed and voted upon at the BFA General Assembly,” Notwane president Tebogo Sebego observed. 

Speaking on behalf of Notwane, which is one of the protesting teams, Sebego said the illegal amendments have caused serious injuries to the constitution as a guarding tool that procedures are derived from.

He also observed that the changes have disenfranchised football delegates from national leagues.  

Article 22.1 of the 2021 constitution effectively wipes the presence of 16 delegates from the premier league clubs and eight delegates from the first division together with their voting rights. Whilst autonomy of the Botswana Football League was approved by the Assembly in 2020, the Assembly never discussed, voted or approved the removal of the delegates from the General Assembly. The amendment is therefore unlawful for lack of authority from the General Assembly. It has a huge impact on the landscape of the structure of the General Assembly” Notwane provided wisdom. 

On the BFA president limitations for standing for elections, Notwane said “Article 33.4 of the 2021 version introduces a term limitation of the President. This amendment seems be carried from the 2019 version (which also was never discussed and voted upon by the General Assembly). It is only the General Assembly that has powers, through the right constitutional channels to introduce a limitation on the term of the President and further to define the limitation based on the reasons presented to it,” he explained. 

Another concern for the teams is what they feel is the removal of the article on promotion and demotion of teams from the BFA constitution. 

“This is an important regulatory power that was adopted by the General Assembly to address the principle of promoting of clubs across all the leagues of the association. The General Assembly amongst other factors, laid a framework that would ensure that Football has presence in all parts of the country as well as promoting competition and inclusiveness,” Sebego explained.

He said the article was also removed from the constitution without prior consultation and approval of the BFA General Assembly, which is the supreme body dealing with matters of constitution.

“The General Assembly was never presented with this matter for discussion and voting. Taking away this power is not only unlawful but undermines the authority of the BFA constitution,” explained Notwane president. 

With the BFA General Assembly expected in the next few weeks, the issue of amendment of constitution is now expected to be a major point of debate and teams want the BFA CEO to address the matter now to enable them ‘to deal with the legality or otherwise of the proposed General Assembly.’

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