Six months ahead of the Botswana Football Association (BFA) elective Annual General Assembly (AGA), campaigns are underway as potential candidates jostle for seats at local football’s high table.
While official campaigns are yet to get underway, sources say secret campaigns are ongoing as BFA Executive Committee hopefuls try to sway voters into their sides.
So far three names, being that of current president Maclean Letshwiti, his predecessor Tebogo Sebego and that of Ookeditse Malesu have been touted, while the fourth name, which is allegedly that of a former BFA executive has also been mooted.
Interestingly, Malesu was initially supposed to have battled with Sebego for the BFA presidency in 2016, only for him to make way for Letshwiti as his backers believed he stood little chance to win.
Following Letshwiti’s election as the BFA president, Malesu was appointed the association’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), a position which he held for less than six (6) months.
Malesu’s appointment as the BFA CEO by Letshwiti brought tensions within his BFA led National Executive Committee (NEC) with his then two Vice Presidents Mashlow Motlogelwa and Segolame Ramotlhwa opposing it. The latter has since been suspended and cannot stand for the upcoming elections.
Once the allies of Letshwiti, both Ramotlhwa and Malesu are now expected to wage a war against the current BFA president, though they are not on the same camp.
Where Malesu will directly take on Letshwiti for the BFA presidency, Ramotlhwa on the other hand is said to be willing to join forces with one campaigner, alleged to be the former BFA Executive.
“He (Ramotlhwa) is canvassing for the former BFA executive to take on Letshwiti. At the moment, they have the intention of convincing Sebego to join forces with them,” a source informed Sunday Standard.
According to the source, should Sebego agree to join forces, he will then be expected to come in as the BFA first vice president where he will be expected to go head to head with Motlogelwa.
“The opinion is that the former BFA Executive stands a better chance of seeing off Letshwiti and if Sebego joins forces, he (Sebego) will achieve two aims, deposing the current NEC as well as making a return to the BFA NEC,” the source said.
However, the source went on to allege that as things stand, it is not very clear if Sebego would be agreeable to the proposition as he harbors the ambition of making it back as the BFA president.
It is alleged that unlike in 2016 when the Botswana Premier League (BPL) board overwhelmingly voted to oust him, this time around, Sebego enjoys almost a total support from the BPL.
This view was supported by another administrator who opined that where Sebego did not get a single vote from all the 16 BPL board members, he will expect better this elective year.
“The BPL board has always been the king makers in the BFA president race,” the source explained. “When voting began for the BFA presidency in 2016, Letshwiti had the support of eleven (11) BPL board members while the remaining five (5) were for Solomon Mantswe. When the latter dropped out of the race in the first round, the five that voted him then went to Letshwiti and that is how Sebego lost his presidency,” he said.
Now with the majority of the BPL board behind him, the source said Sebego now has a solid foundation to work on and he will be relishing an opportunity to dethrone his predecessor.
“While Letshwiti enjoys massive support in the North, Sebego also has massive support in the South and this, coupled with the support from the BPL gives him a good foundation,” he added.
On the other side, the source said Letshwiti will have to also contend with the fallout within his committee.
Aside from Ramotlhwa, it is said that another BFA NEC member, who allegedly also enjoys a lot of support from the grassroots has ‘decamped from the Letshwiti camp.’
While it is not clear which camp the NEC member will join, the departure of the NEC member, who still has the ambition of returning to the NEC, will allegedly cripple the Letshwiti campaign, more especially in the regions.
As if not enough, it is alleged that two of Letshwiti’s current NEC members will be going head to head for the BFA 2nd vice president post, creating another division within the camp.
“What we know is that Maokaneng Bontshetse and Masego Nchingane are all eyeing the BFA 2nd vice president position. Now the question is who will Letshwiti support between these two youthful members. If he chooses one over another, he will risk dividing his camp further,” the source alleged.
However, a Letshwiti camp insider has expressed optimism that the current BFA president will have returned back to his position when the election dust settles in August.
“Nothing much should be read into the campaigns at the moment, but what I can promise is that we will not lose this race,” he said.
The insider said while it is alleged that the current regime has lost its hold on the BPL votes, it is a little too early for such proclamations.
“Even if we had lost the votes of the BPL board, you have to understand that they carry only 16 votes, meaning there are still a further 44 votes to fight for,” he said.
“And for us, we are confident that we have the confidence of the regions, which make the majority of the voting bloc. For a person to win, all he needs is 52 percent of the votes and I am confident we can make that number,” the insider said.
He said at the elective AGA, whoever will have the majority of the votes from the regions as well as women’s football will emerge the winner.
On Malesu, the insider said while he was once an ally, his entry into the race will not in any way affect their campaign.
“I do not expect him to get votes from us. In fact, I believe he will be lucky to even garner five (5) votes. He is not a threat,” he concluded.