Botswana Football Association (BFA) National Executive Committee (NEC) member Tshepo Mphoeng has become the first victim of the internal wrangling within the football mother body.
Mphoeng was this past Friday ‘provisionally removed’ from her position from the association NEC pending a determination by the next BFA General Assembly whether to permanently revoke her NEC membership.
Under the BFA constitution, the NEC has no power to fire its own member, with the powers to do such vested upon the General Assembly.
According to sources, Mphoeng’s removal comes as she had openly voiced her concerns over what she believed to be flawed working relationships within the BFA NEC.
Mphoeng’s no holds barred approach to internal issues within the association is said to have made the BFA president Maclean Letshwiti uncomfortable, hence his decision to table a motion to ‘provisionally remove’ her.
Tabling his motion, Letshwiti is said to have alleged that Mphoeng had uttered ‘statements that can be seen to be bringing, or having the potential to bring my name and those of other members of the NEC, into disrepute.’
Mphoeng had openly expressed concerns over what she believed were unilateral decisions taken by Letshwiti and a select few NEC members as well as the relationship between the BFA president and his vice president Segolame Ramotlhwa.
In his motion, Letshwiti is alleged to have said by uttering certain statements, Mphoeng had violated clause 2.9 of the BFA Code of Conduct.
It is alleged that on the 12th of October, Mphoeng had written a letter to the NEC members expressing concerns over secrecy within it. She expressed misgivings about decisions taken by a select few of the NEC while other members are excluded from decision making.
“Nna NEC e a ntena ka gore everything is left to them rona we are left…..” (loosely translated; this NEC is annoying because they do everything and we are left out).
“…And even if you try to advice it does not work, I sometimes feel it’s not worth to be in the committee it’s the worst NEC committee I have ever known, so secretive, members are like parcels on board….,” she continued.
The fiery Mphoeng then wrote another letter to the NEC on the 10th of this month (November), casting aspersions at the relationship between Letshwiti and Ramotlhwa.
In the said email, Mphoeng is said to have requested that a planned NEC be postponed to allow Ramotlhwa to be present.
“I am so much concerned about the President and VP1 relationship, I suggest we postpone the NEC meeting so that it be held VP1 ale teng. Borre ba bako bare bolelele gore go riling. Nna ke ta baithoma ba a lapisa,” (loosely translated ‘I suggest the meeting be held with the VP1 present. These men should tell us what is happening between them. I will personally ask them because this is annoying’)
The statements are said to have rubbed Letshwiti the wrong way, forcing him to pen a motion asking for Mphoeng’s provisional removal from the BFA NEC.
According to sources in her defense on Friday, Mphoeng told the BFA president that he misdirected himself in putting up the motion to dismiss her.
“She told the NEC meeting that the motion is the opinion of the president not the resolution of the NEC hence she believe it cannot warrant for her to be dismissed from NEC” the source said.
It is alleged she also told his colleague during the fateful meeting that the president does not have the power to dismiss but NEC and the general assembly have those powers.
Despite her defense, Mphoeng could not defer her fate as six members voted for her to be removed, with two against the motion while one refrained from voting.
Mphoeng’s dismissal, just three months into her role as an NEC member, has sparked concerns among some football administrators.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, some are of the belief that a bad precedence has been set that any member of the NEC who speak against the president will be removed.
They questioned why her concerns which were expressed to NEC colleagues in a formal platform ‘can be seen to be bringing, or having the potential to bring my name and those of other members of the NEC, into disrepute.’
The temporary dismissal of Mphoeng is also seen as a draw back on the drive to encourage woman participation in sport.
As Mphoeng is provisionally removed, her fate will now be referred to the next BFA assembly for ratification. The BFA assembly can either approve the decision or reverse it.