Wednesday, December 7, 2022

‘Misappropriation of Funds’ and ‘Government Red Tape’

Botswana and Namibia’s bid to cohost the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations hangs in the balance as reports from Namibia indicate that the dream may be deferred.

This follows recent media reports from Namibia alleging maladministration and misappropriation of funds from their side. On the Botswana side, there are also allegations of lack of commitment and lack of funding.

The two countries have set a bid committee comprising officials from both countries. Each country also has its own local organizing committee to manage the affairs of the proposed bid in their respective countries.

According to sources from the Namibian side, the country’s local organizing committee is alleged to have squandered the R15 million funds from the government. The funds were to be used towards formulating a bid document.

There are now fears that if the allegations are true, the Botswana Namibia (BONA) 2027 bid may be in serious jeopardy. “The possibilities of coming up with a bid document lies entirely on availability of financial resources but without money the work will be done at slow pace and eventually jeopardizing the chances of hosting,” a source in Namibia says.

As Namibia battles misappropriation of funds allegations, things are allegedly not going well here in Botswana as well. Here, there is a concern that bureaucratic red tape is slowing the bid process. The country’s local organizing committee is said to be still waiting for the government to approve its proposed budget. The budget was allegedly submitted to the government more than two months ago.

“Some members of the committee are frustrated due to government’s bureaucratic processes,” a source in Botswana said. Though they are still hard at work, the committee is reportedly unhappy. Their gripe is that without a budget proposal in place, they cannot work seamlessly with engaged experts as some work needs their expertise.

“The audit of what needs to be done and the costing of how much will be needed for everything to be put in order should have been long done,” said the source. The audit is expected to give an idea on the magnitude of work that needs to be done. This includes the remedial developments to be undertaken in the existing stadia and the construction of new stadiums.

“All the work will need consultants to assess what the country has and what needs to be done. The pace of government is delaying work and sport is about time. The committee has to work within the confines of time, timely. The information will be vital in the finalization of the bid document,” the local source said.

According to the local source; “There are those who feel the whole idea of bidding for 2027 should be deferred to 2029 because there is a lot of work that need to be done.”  

Botswana was expected to launch bid ambassadors two months back and it is yet to disclose who the chosen individuals are.

Efforts to talk to Namibian minister of Youth and Sport Agnes Tjongarero together with bid committee spokesperson, Johanna Ndilokelwa Manuel hit a snag as they did not answer calls nor respond to WhatsApp calls despite blue ticking them. Sunday Standard had wanted the two authorities to address the allegations in Namibia and to guide on the way forward.

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