Saturday, October 24, 2020

To Do or Not to Do

If it was according to the BFA constitution, the association would have hosted its General Assembly yesterday, August 15th

According to Article 27.1, ‘the Ordinary General Assembly shall be held every year by 14 August or as close as reasonable possible to this date as possible, before the commencement of next season.’ 

The assembly and the elections thereof, would have ushered in a new National Executive Committee (NEC) or given the current one a new mandate to run the association for the next four (4) years.

In line with the constitution, the BFA NEC, opted for a date as close as possible to yesterday and settled for the 22nd of this August, which is a mere six days away from today (Sunday).

As fate would have it however, the date unfortunately seems not feasible, largely due to the spike in coronavirus cases and the protocols set in place to contain it.

According to the COVID 19 protocols, as set by the government, ‘a person shall not travel across COVID zones for purposes of a meeting, workshop or conference.’ 

The protocols also dictate that ‘a meeting, workshop or conference shall have a maximum of 50 persons.’ 

By Friday night, the association was still waiting for a reply from the government pertaining to its application for a waiver to host its elective assembly, according to Chief Executive Officer Mfolo Mfolo.

With the waiver now under uncertainty, what’s next for the BFA? For those at Lekidi, the belief is that in the event of the elective general assembly failing to materialize, the current committee will hold fort until the election time arrives.

A source opined that as the BFA constitution states that the NEC’s mandate ‘shall begin after the end of the General Assembly which has elected them,’ it goes without saying therefore that their term will be completed at the next assembly.

On how long the term can be, the source said this depends on when it will be reasonable to host an elective congress.

“The constitution states that it should be ‘as close as reasonably possible to this date (August 14) as possible’ and ‘before the commencement of next season.’ The key words here are ‘as close as reasonably possible.” 

The source says given the current situation with coronavirus where holding an elective assembly is difficult, ‘as close as reasonably possible’ can mean immediately when the situation allows.

According to another source, given the current circumstances, the BFA NEC can invoke section 75 of the constitution which speaks to ‘Unforeseen contingencies and force majeure.’ 

the article stipulates that ‘the National Executive Committee shall have the final decision on any matters not provided for in the constitution or in case of force majeure.’

The source said given that should the current unforeseeable circumstances prevent the BFA from hosting the elective assembly, the NEC may decide to hold the fort in the interim.

“At this moment, the issue of instituting an interim committee cannot be entertained,” the source revealed.

This however is disputed by the detractors of the regime, who opine that the current regime’s term of office has since elapsed.

The detractors say the current regime cannot hide behind article 27.1 as it talks to the dates of the General Assembly and not the term of mandate of the NEC.

They argue that should the said article be used, the current regime could them extend its term of office as far as February next year, thus far exceeding its 4-year term of office.

According to them, the use of article 75 would also not favour the current regime as its tenure had elapsed.

“The article speaks to an NEC that is legitimately in power. The current NEC has not sought to extend its mandate. They never, before the expiry of their mandate sought an extension of their mandate on account of force majeure. The provision is not applicable to this scenario,” they proclaim. 

According to them, if the term elapses without elections being held, it is only appropriate that a transition team be put in place to oversee the association and prepare for the next elections.

They argue that the perpetual postponement of the elective assembly and the ‘failed attempt’ to vet them out point to a regime keen to unconstitutionally hold to office and increase its stay in power.

This argument is however disputed by sources at the BFA who argue the association stands to suffer financially if elections are postponed to an unknown time in future.    

According to the source, the association is desperate to host the elective general assembly as soon as possible.

“FIFA has taken a deliberate decision not to release finances to any federation which still has to undergo elections,” the source revealed.

The source said FIFA’s reasoning is that grants only be given to those who will have to account. It therefore cannot release funds to a committee which may be voted out of office, and thus may not be able to account. 

“For the BFA, this means that if we do not hold elections, there will be no grants released to us from FIFA until after the elections,” the source explained.

With the BFA relying on the FIFA grants for its programs and their administration, a prolonged period without the elections will leave the association financially harm strung.

Meanwhile, sources at Lekidi say the association is coming under pressure from opposing camps to host the elections.

“We received a letter from one of the camps suggesting that if the association fails to hold its elective assembly, an interim committee should take over,” the source said.

Commenting on the matter, Mfolo said should BFA not get a waiver, the association would look to the NEC to take appropriate action.

“We would have already given two notices for the elective assembly, first for the 8th of August and the second for the 22nd of August and failed. It would therefore be for the NEC to take appropriate action,” he said.

The BFA CEO added that where the association falls short of direction, it will look to FIFA to give such.

Mfolo is however holding on to hope that the association would get a waiver to host its elective assembly.

He says even if the association can get a waiver by Tuesday, it will go ahead with the assembly and hope their decisions are ratified there as this is ‘an unusual situation.’

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