Monday, September 25, 2023

Immigration Board to decide Butler’s Fate

Sunday Standard understands that the fate of Gaborone United (GU)’s Director of Football Peter James Butler will be decided by the Immigration Board this week.

Butler’s application for a work permit has allegedly been put on hold. This follows a plea from the team’s former team manager Owe Mmolawa. The latter has plead with Immigration selection board to deny Butler a work and residence permit. 

Mmolawa accuses the GU’s Director of football of racism. He also suggests that Butler does not bring any extra ordinary skills that Batswana lack. In a loaded letter to the Immigration department, Mmolawa contends that ‘the character of Mr. Butler lacks the rudimentary qualification on the basis of racial discrimination allegations leveled against him.’

“The allegations have been reported to the continental football mother body (CAF) for investigation and determination thereof. The complaint has been lodged by me. Mr. Butler is employed as Director of Football of which the qualification requirements for the job include amongst others possession of a CAF “A” coaching certificate” he opined in his support for Butler’s work permit to be denied. 

He reasons that the fundamental uptake of foreign nationals for employment is that it should be on account of scarce skills or justification for the same. “I contend strongly that work permit be declined for Butler as there are many Batswana who have graduated with CAF A coaching certificate and fit enough to be considered for employment. Awarding work and residence permits to Mr. Butler on the basis of this job would be a fatal blow to the efforts of Botswana government in empowering its own citizens, in my solemn view’,’ he said. 

Speaking in an interview, the outspoken former GU team manager alleges that Butler uttered words that ‘black people are drunkards and are lazy.’ He alleges that former Botswana senior national football team coach also accused him of indiscipline and ‘drinking alcohol with players.’ 

A source within the GU camp however says Mmolawa will have an uphill battle trying to convince the board that the allegations levelled against Butler are true. “What we have heard is that Butler tried to calm down Mmolawa who was being rowdy during the flight back home from Madagascar.” 

According to the source, Mmolawa’s rowdiness during the flight allegedly irritated the flight attendants. “Butler then allegedly took the alcohol off him and instructed the girls (flight attendants) not to give him any,” the source says. 

Reached for clarity on the matter, GU’s Head of Marketing and Communications Herbert Letsebe says the matter is yet to be reported to the team management. “We, like everybody, heard of Mmolawa’s complaints or displeasure with Butler through social media and newspaper interviews. Nothing has been reported to us yet.”

Letsebe says as a team, they cannot therefore know or comment on the matter as they know nothing of it. On Mmolawa being demoted, he says there is no truth in the allegations. “He was redeployed to the ladies’ team, not demoted,” he says.


Read this week's paper