Sunday, February 5, 2023

Suspensions top disputes as BFA acts against alleged dissidents

While the Botswana Football Association (BFA) has denied allegations that its crusade against regional football association leaders said to be opposing it are fuelled by impending elections, opponents of the regime are adamant the regime is electioneering.

In a ‘press statement’ sent to media houses this past Thursday and signed by BFA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mfolo Mfolo, the association said ‘allegations that the BFA National Executive Committee’ is involved in vetting and rigging tactics targeting certain individuals’ is ‘further from the truth.’

However, a day following the release of the press statement,  the BFA on Friday slapped Chobe Regional Football Association Secretary Themba Senyemba with a suspension letter, whilst also postponing the Francistown Regional Football Association (FRAFA) elections to a later date to ‘allow the region to complete its financial report for tabling at the regional meeting.’

This followed reports last week that Senyemba, along with Isaac Mabuta and Olson Mantle had been targeted to be barred from contesting regional elections due to their perceived ‘anti current BFA regime’ stance.

Senyemba who was seeking to retain his position as the Chobe regional football association secretary, was also said to be campaigning to get the current Chobe football region chairman, who is allegedly pro regime, voted out.

Mabuta and Mantle on the other hand are seeking to contest the chairmanship of FRAFA and Hukuntsi regional Football association respectively. Mabuta is planning to face off against current FRAFA chairman and well known regime supporter Maokaneng Bontshetse, while Mantle is competing against another regime favourite Ketlogetswe Mokgolele.

Senyemba’s letter of suspension, which is dated 25th May 2018 and was signed by none other than BFA 2nd Vice President Pelotshweu Motlogelwa, discloses that the Chobe regional secretary is suspended for ‘failing to account for the money which was deposited into your account on the 27th October 2017.’

“To this end, you are hereby suspended from all BFA activities pending investigations into this matter,” the letter reads. “It would be in your interest to cooperate during this process,” it concludes with a warning.

The suspension of Senyemba and the postponement of the FRAFA regional elections to 2nd June, has left supporters of both Mabuta and Mantle in suspense, as they ponder what could be next.

Mabuta has already been slapped with a letter by Motlogelwa to account for some finances in his region and it is suspected he will be targeted and hit with a suspension.

Mantle on the other hand was called to account for his ‘alleged social media utterances’ by the BFA 1st President Segolame Ramotlhwa in a letter dated 17 May 2018.

In the letter, Ramotlhwa wants Mantle to confirm whether he made statements to the effect that ‘there are people who bribed delegates to vote in the 2016 Hukuntsi RFA committee elections and that the same people are back to influence the RFA elections.’

The alleged utterances by Mantle were allegedly made on 24 April in the Kgalagadi North Division One League facebook page.

“Mama they are here the people who bribed delegates to vote in 2016 Hukuntsi Region FA executive Committee, give us a sign of what we must do with them. Mama they are here the people from Gc who stagnate progress of our futbol (meaning football) while futbol is smoothly progressing and growing in their regions, so Mama give us a sign of what we must do with them,” so reads part of the statement allegedly made by Mantle.

With the ten (10) days he was given to ‘confirm or deny’ the alleged utterances set to elapse on the eve of the region’s scheduled election day which is billed for this coming Wednesday, there is rife fear that he will be hit with suspension just prior to the elections.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a source close to the Hukuntsi RFA said some teams supporting Mantle in the region are already planning a fight back should he be suspended ahead of the elections.

“If he is suspended, the plan will be to not attend the elections and not vote as a way of protest,” the source revealed. With more teams in support of Mantle, it is believed the stay away will ensure a quorum is not formed at the elective regional meeting, thus collapsing it.


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