A day hardly passed without hearing the voice of Ipolokeng Ramatshaba on Radio stations and even seeing him on Botswana Television. Ramatshaba was the Public Relations officer of the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) and was defeated from his position at the BAA elections about two months ago. Ramatshaba lost to active athlete, Glody Dube, the first local athlete to qualify for the 800 metres finals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Since Dube took over, a little has been heard from him, especially about the upcoming athletic races both locally and internationally. Of late, there has also been several athletic races which were not well publicised.
Word doing the rounds in athletics circles is that some clubs are not happy with the latest developments, especially since Dube is a professional and is still a full time athlete. Some teams say his athletic schedule is impacting on his administrative duties. It is about time, they say, that something is done or else there might be a crisis brewing.
One club official, who preferred anonymity, told The Sunday Standard that Dube is capable of excelling and even surpass his predecessor Ramatshaba but it was not wise to choose him. The official said Dube is always busy in the field rather than in the office and his Public Relations obligations are suffering.
“I wonder what BAA officials who voted for Dube had in mind, although they expressed their democratic rights and acted within the constitution,” said the official. “The BAA is the one that is suffering at the end of the day. We need to get as much publicity as possible just like other popular codes such as football. If our publicity efforts suffer, we are going to struggle in lobbying for sponsorships. It has been about two months since he got into office but we are yet to see him publicising BAA like Ramatshaba did.”
The official also said if the association cannot act with immediate effect, they would regret in the future. The official added that the next three years would also be horrendous if the BAA does not come to their senses.
At the time of going to press, efforts to reach Dube were futile. He was reported to be in Senegal where he is participating in some athletic events.
Meanwhile, the BAA President, Moses Bantsi, admitted that Dube’s full time involvement in track events obviously distracts his administrative duties. He, however, said contingency plans are already in place in case Dube is busy.
“Obviously if you are a professional athlete, and are also involved in administrative duties, like being the public relations officer, there are going to be problems. However, as an association, we have already made plans to cover up for him, once he is busy. Bobby Gaseitsiwe, who is the Sports Development Officer of the BAA, and a full time employee for that matter, will help. We chose him because he is always in the office and can be reached at anytime for assistance,” he said.
On why they allowed an active athlete to be voted in the most demanding position, Bantsi said that people used their democratic rights since there was nothing barring them from doing so. Bantsi added that they cannot appoint an Assistant Public Relations Officer because the constitution does not allow that.