Just a few days after being elected the president of the Botswana Athletics Association (BAA), Thari Mooketsi has promised to hit the ground running.
Mooketsi, who beat off a challenge from the immediate past BAA president, Moses Bantsi, as well as Zambia Champi and Seitshiro Matlala to win the unenviable role of leading BAA, says he is ready for the difficult job that lies ahead.
The Lefika Athletics Club co-founder, who garnered eight votes against four for Bantsi to lead the BAA, inherits a mess, which he will have to clean to get the association back on track.
Speaking in an interview, the new BAA broom said he knows the exact state of affairs in the association.
“One of our biggest challenges is to look into the burning issue of maladministration of resources which has been at the centre of our current state,” Mooketsi said.
The issues include the misappropriation of funds as well as the issue of national team kits that could have been given to the junior athletes prior to the Africa Junior Championships, which were hosted by Botswana this past month.
It was the same issue of the welfare of junior athletes that led to the bust up between the immediate past executive committee and its Public Relations Officer, Glody Dube that eventually resulted with the collapse of the Bantsi-led BAA executive committee.
To make it even harder for him, his committee is expected to meet with the Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC) this coming Friday to look into the issue of funds and development.
With the Junior championships, the All Africa Games, the World Championships and the London 2012 Olympics all in the offing, it is said that the BNSC is keen to see the BAA financial bill of health to see if there is any misappropriation and how much will be needed to get athletes to the next competitions.
Another pressing issue, according to the new BAA leader, will be the suspension of Dube from the BAA committee. Making the issue even more difficult, according to Mooketsi, will be the legality of preventing the former PRO from standing for elections as per the suspension, which was meted on him by the immediate past committee, which was deposed as it had been ‘controversially elected into office.’
The new BAA president, who stood against Bantsi and was defeated in Gantsi early this year, was one of the people who protested the results of the Gantsi elections. He says once Dube’s suspension has been looked into, the new executive committee will know what to do.
He says should it be found that the latter was unfairly suspended, it will be in the best interest of athletics that ‘he accepts that mistakes do happen,’ and continue to work with the new committee to take athletics forward.
On how long it may take for him and his committee to change the fortunes of the BAA, Mooketsi says while he cannot exactly put a time line, he expects the association to be back to normal and in clean health in a year’s time. He says apart from the above mentioned pressing and urgent issues, they have to attend to, there are still a lot of other issues which will also need to be urgently looked into to ensure that a good foundation is laid for the future development of athletics in the country. Other members of the new BAA executive committee are Justice Dipeba (Vice President), Legojane Kebaitse (Secretary General), Lebogang Mofokeng (Vice Secretary General), while Ikgopoleng Ramatshaba is the new PRO.
Lulu Basenyi and Kenneth Kikwe got the nod as the committee’s additional members.