Strict punitive measures and lifelong bans from sport are looming for some whistleblowers found to be tarnishing reputations of local sports leadership. This comes as the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) says it is putting in place a stringent policy of action against members who are found to be making unsubstantiated allegations about others in local sports leadership.
Addressing the BNSC Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) this past Thursday, BNSC Chairperson Solly Reikeletseng said the initiative is made to protect sport and sport leadership reputations. He said over the past years, there have been a lot of unsubstantiated allegations uttered by disgruntled sports people, some of them former committee members who had lost elections, which have tarnished the integrity and reputation of sport leadership in the country.
The BNSC Chairperson said while there is nothing wrong with speaking out when things are not being done accordingly, the major problem with these allegations is that they have been peddled and debated in public spheres, where they are seen by all. Reikeletseng contended that the allegations, more especially those of maladministration of funds, which have made more rounds than any other, have the potential to scare the few available sponsors away from sport. He said it will not be surprising in future if potential sponsors refused to be associated with local sport ‘as they are always on the news for funds maladministration.’ He said as such, members who are seen to have deliberately peddled such allegations may find themselves banned for life from sport.
The new policy was welcomed by affiliates who felt it was long overdue. The affiliates were also all in consensus that this move will help protect sport and sport leadership. Commenting on the new policy, Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) President, Nelson Amanze said the BTA fully supports and welcomes the formation of such a policy. He said for a long time now, BTA has had to deal with such issues and the formulation of such a policy would come as a relief for the association.
The new policy was also lauded by the Botswana Football Association (BFA) President Tebogo Sebego who said action needs to be taken against people who peddle lies about sport leadership in the country. Sebego, whose BFA has found itself in the middle of funds maladministration allegations in the recent past, said for some time now, such peddling of unsubstantiated allegations have tainted the reputations of sports leadership as well as sporting codes and the policy was welcome. Another endorsement for the policy came from the Botswana Judo Federation (BJF) who also viewed it as a welcome development.
Commenting on the issue, BJF Secretary General, Dorothy Tlagae, said there is a need for harsher punishments to be meted out on people found to be putting sport into disrepute. She said due to the unsubstantiated allegations peddled against sports leadership in the country, many reputations have been tarnished.