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'It’s not about purges, but accountability'

MQONDISI DUBE
First Division North Suspended Comittee Secretary Rapula Gaothobogwe and Chairperson Mpenzeni Sambandawe at a press conference in Francistown PIC> DITHAPELO NTIRANG
The Botswana Football Association (BFA) has moved swiftly to bat away allegations that there is a purge of president Maclean Letshwiti’s opponents, following the recent suspension of the First Division North committee over missing funds.

The First Division North committee hit back last week, arguing there was a systematic purging of those who campaigned against Letshwiti in the lead-up to the 2016 BFA presidential elections.

But the BFA says the members, who addressed a press conference in Francistown, must account rather than clutch at straws.

“Accountability is key at BFA. Just recently, we were praised by FIFA for being an accountable organisation. This has to trickle down from the top to the regions. We can only attract sponsors if we are accountable.

We will not shy away from acting according to the laws that promote governance and accountability,” BFA marketing and public relations officer, Tumo Mpatane said yesterday.

He said if there was any evidence of a purge, those affected are free to approach the association.

It is said the suspended members are now hiding behind the alleged purge to deflect attention.

“The issue is failure to account and they have found a convenient excuse to claim that they are being purged. They want to use their

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voting power to avoid being held accountable,” a source close to the developments, said.

“For years, football has been lagging behind due to lack of accountability, and when the BFA tries to enforce that, some individuals cry foul and claim there is a purge.”

The source said the BFA was keen to clampdown on errant individuals, and will not allow voting power to be used to subvert processes.

“The BFA is doing what is best for football. People deserve a leadership that is accountable. In the north, they failed to account despite being given time to do so. There was total disregard for financial procedures, that’s where the issue is, and not purging,” the source said.

Affected First Division North chairperson, Mpenzeni Sambandawe and his secretary general, Rapula Gaothobogwe addressed a press conference in Francistown last week, where they pleaded their innocence.

“There is no such thing as misappropriation of funds that we are accused of. This is a smear campaign meant to tarnish our images,” Sambandawe said.



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