Saturday, January 22, 2022

Things Fall Apart at Botswana Karate as Executive Committee members resign

After five troubled months at the helm of the association, the Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) Executive Committee has collapsed. In an unprecedented move this past Monday, four of the committee’s members quit the executive ‘with immediate effect,’ rendering BOKA executive obsolete. The four members who quit the BOKA executive are the Vice President Administration Lere Basupang, Public Relations Officer, Andrew Dobolo, Vice Secretary General Kemmonye Seletamotse and the association’s Treasurer Bontle Charles. In their letters to the BOKA Executive dated October 6th, the four cited lack of confidence on the current BOKA executive as the reasons for quitting.

The resignation of the four members means the association is now one member short of forming a quorum and is now facing dissolution. While an impromptu meeting was held yesterday (Saturday) to map a way forward, the expectation among members was that the executive would be dissolved and new dates for elections set. Speaking on condition of anonymity, some affiliates said they were not surprised at the current turn of events, stating that the new BOKA committee was divided and had failed to run the association ever since it was sworn into office in May earlier this year.

The affiliates, together with the resigned committee members have pointed accusing fingers at the remaining committee members, namely the BOKA President Tshepo Bathai, Vice President Chris Ponatshego and the association’s Secretary General Phineas Motseolapile of taking unilateral decisions affecting the association without consulting them. This prompted the affiliates to write a petition to the executive seeking answers on what is going on at the association.

According to the petition, which is dated 23rd of September, the affiliates sought the BOKA executive to have given them an explanation by the end of business day this past Friday. At the top of the affiliates query is the establishment of the BOKA trust. According to the affiliates, the executive committee was tasked with ‘formulating a policy document that was to govern the trust and submit it to the Special General Meeting of affiliates for approval.’

It was only after such that BOKA would have formed a Trust based on the policy document agreed upon by the affiliates. However, contrary to this, the executive committee is said to have gone on to establish the trust and appoint its trustees without consulting the affiliates, something which did not go well with the affiliates. “As BOKA members and ‘The Supreme Body of BOKA’ we find anomaly for BOKA Executive Committee to have started and concluded the formation of the trust without consulting BOKA affiliates,” the petition reads.

Another issue which riled the affiliates has been the suspension of some of the executive committee members without the knowledge of the affiliates. The affiliates lament that within the five months that the committee has been at the helm, two of its members, namely Basupang and Dobolo were suspended from the committee and no communication was extended to the affiliates in both instances. They say in both instances, they got to hear the news of the suspensions through the media and nothing was communicated to them. The latter issue is said to have rubbed Dobolo the wrong way and eventually made him consider his place in the committee.

Still on the petition, affiliates felt that the new executive has rendered all the existing BOKA commissions dormant and has usurped their powers and is thus taking resolutions. “This is disturbing as some Executive Committee members perform roles that are subordinate to their portfolios,” the petition reads. They cited the current BOKA Vice President Technical, Ponatshego, who they label a ‘self appointed national team coach’ as an example of such.

According to a source, with a coach expected to report to a Technical Officer, it makes no sense that Ponatshego should serve as both. They say the situation means that should there be queries regarding Ponatshego as a coach, nothing can be done or said against him as he will be reporting to himself. Also in the petition, the affiliates expressed concern about the recent rumours making rounds in the media outlets talking of misappropriation of funds by the executive committee. They say with the sport of karate renowned for good discipline and etiquette, the issue does not portray a good image of BOKA and it thus goes without saying that the executive should explain what is being written by the media to the affiliates.

Contacted for comment, BOKA President confirmed the resignations but said he was hopeful the committee can still be saved. He said he was hopeful that some of the resigned committee members will reconsider their positions and rescind their resignations to ensure the committee can continue its term in office. “There are a lot of things at stake here for BOKA and we are thus still discussing with the resigned members to rethink their positions. We are also hopeful that the BOKA affiliates will give us a go ahead to co-opt members though we understand that the number of the resigned members is very high,” Sensei Bathai said.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper