BY BOTLHALE KOOTHUPILE
When Minister Tshekedi Khama was appointed to the Sports portfolio, he would have not expected to see himself in the thick mud of things so quickly.
Immediately after his appointment, Khama had to contend with the departure of the then long serving Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) Chairperson Solly Reikeletseng.
Following the news of Reikeletseng’s departure from the corridors of the BNSC, the local sports fraternity and media went into overdrive. Social media was abuzz with endorsements. Names were bandied about as the sports fraternity tried to come up with ‘potential’ replacements.
While the endorsements may be of no significance, as the decision ultimately lies in the hands of the newly appointed Minister of Sports Tshekedi Khama, this has not stopped the sports fraternity from trying to influence him.
Not without cause of course! For a long time, the appointment of the BNSC Board Chairman has been viewed as a political appointment.
Now as Tshekedi takes the reins, he has promised to give the sports fraternity a leader who meets their expectations.
Speaking with a local radio station recently, the Minister promised to consult with the local sports fraternity for them to give their input on who they want to lead the BNSC.
But should the Minister backtrack and engage the local sports fraternity before appointing the new BNSC Chairperson, what kind of a leader should he appoint?
“What the BNSC needs is a strategist,” former BNSC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kitso Kemoeng opined.
“The mandate of the BNSC board as led by the Commission chairperson is to map a strategy for the BNSC. While having a sport background should be an advantage, the BNSC chairperson, for all terms and purpose does not need to be from sports. The new chairperson in my opinion needs to be at least 80% strategist,” he said.
Kemoeng holds that the Chairperson must not seem to usurp the roles of the secretariat and must understand his/her duties and not interfere with the day to day running of the BNSC.
“The BNSC board chairperson must not seem to be the face of the commission. That is the role of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). If you look at organisations like Botswana Telecommunications Communications (BTC) or Citizen Entrepreneurial Agency (CEDA), just to mention the two, you would not even know the Chairpersons of their boards, but you will know their CEO’s. But things are different with sports as Chairpersons become the face and answer for operational matters,” Kemoeng added.
The former BNSC CEO said should the Minister opt for a strategist, the incoming Chairperson will be well complimented by the BNSC CEO and Technical Manager for guidance on sports related matters.
The same sentiments were shared by the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) president Colonel Botsang Tshenyego, who also sits on the BNSC Board.
“The BNSC needs a strategic minded person at the helm of its board,” Tshenyego opined. “The person must be transformative, mature, have credibility and be able to create and drive a vision,” he said.
Tshenyego is also of the opinion that while a passion for sports is an advantage, it should not be the be all and end all in the hunt for the new BNSC Chairperson.
“When we talk of a strategist, we talk of a person who has the ability to take any business or organisation from where it is to the next level,” he explained. “In the case of the BNSC, it needs a person who can move it from where it is right now to a whole new level,” he added.
The BNOC president went on to reiterate that as the leader of the BNSC board, the incoming chairperson must know the role of the board and should not be seen to be taking over the day to day running of the BNSC.
“The board’s major role is governance and strategy. It is a Board of Directors. Their purpose is to lead or direct. They are long term goals oriented,” he explained.
Tshenyego said given that the BNSC secretariat is well capacitated, there should be no need for the BNSC Chairperson to be seen to be engaged on the day to day running of the BNSC.
“The BNSC has capable people and is well capacitated. It has the CEO and several Directors of departments who are hands on in the day to day operations of the commission,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tshenyego has expressed optimism that minister Khama will appoint a Chairperson who is to the liking of the local sports fraternity.
“He has been consulting the sports fraternity on the matter and the BNSC board has been consulted as well. So far so good,” he concluded.