Monday, September 21, 2020

War of attrition looms large as battle for BFA control intensifies

On the 22nd of this month, delegates from the Botswana Football Association (BFA) structures will congregate at Cresta Thapama Hotel in Francistown for the association’s elective General Assembly (GA).

Top most in their priority will be to elect a new National Executive Committee (NEC) to lead the association for the next quadrennial. 

The BFA chief executive officer (CEO) Mfolo Mfolo says preparations for the elective General Assembly are ‘continuing as normal’ despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Until we are not less than seven days away from the general assembly, we prepare as if everything is normal,” Mfolo informed Sunday Standard Sports.

While the BFA CEO wants to prepare ‘as if everything is normal,’ sources say beneath the veil of normalcy, lie simmering tensions. The association received a correspondence from one of the presidential contenders, Tebogo Sebego, this past Friday, querying the current regime’s ‘non-compliance to the BFA statutes.’

In the correspondence, which Mfolo did ‘not deny or confirm,’ Sebego contends that the delegates have not been given a 21-day notification of the date and venue of the event as per the BFA Constitution.

According to Article 27.2 of the BFA constitution, ‘the NEC shall fix place and date and ‘members shall be notified in writing at least twenty one (21) calendar days before the day of the General Assembly.’

Addressing the issue, the former BFA president informed the BFA CEO that the provision of 21 days is to ensure ‘delegates and interested parties, almost all of whom are volunteers’ can make arrangements to attend the assembly.

Asked on whether the delegates have been properly notified, Mfolo said as far as he knows, all delegates were informed of the dates through the BFA circular no. 28 which was sent to the association structures on the 28th of July.

One delegate however disputes the BFA CEO’s assertion, saying they are ‘yet to receive any confirmation of the venue and date of the assembly.’

“All we did receive from the BFA was the notification which was sent to us to inform us that the assembly has been postponed from the previous date of 08th August to the 22nd of the same month. There was however no correspondence to confirm such or the venue,” the delegate said.

The delegate, who commented on condition of anonymity, went on to add that they are also yet to receive packs and documents of the financials of the association to peruse ahead of the event, another point raised by Sebego in his correspondence with BFA. 

On other matters, Sebego asked the association to confirm whether it had ‘been given a green light to host an event’ by the Ministry of Health and Wellness given the COVID-19 situation.

He also asked the association if the venue they have identified for the assembly ‘has the capacity to host meetings and its readiness to observe COVID-19 protocols. The former BFA president also asked of the association whether it had arranged for zonal permits for all delegates and interested parties and ‘whether the same has been communicated accordingly.’

Asked about the preparations, Mfolo said the association is continuously engaging with the government through the relevant ministry and departments to ask for a waiver of some regulations in order to host the event.

Under the current COVID-19 regulations, people cannot move from one zone to another for a meeting or conference. Meetings and conferences should also not have more than 50 participants.

In the same letter, Sebego implored the BFA to respond promptly before the end of business today (Friday) ‘in order for us to explore the constitutional remedies and recourse arising from the NEC non compliance with the BFA statutes.’

Given the above regulations, sources say the road to this year’s highly charged assembly will have a lot of minefields to circumvent.

According to a close source, if the BFA fails to host the assembly as planned, detractors will call for an interim committee to steer the association to elections as the current committee’s mandate would have elapsed.

The source, who commented on condition of anonymity, said as the BFA Constitution stipulates that it is mandatory for the assembly to be held on the second week of August, any attempt by the current regime to be in control past the 22nd will be unlawful.

Should the current BFA regime be tempted to extend its stay in power past the set date of elective assembly, sources say their opponents will ‘engage FIFA and seek intervention.’

Attempts to engage the BFA CEO on the contents of the Sebego correspondence were futile.

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