The appointment of Tumiso ‘Chillyboy’ Rakgare as the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, has raised hopes in some quarters, due to his energy and youthfulness.
Rakgare joins the Ministry at a time when there are many challenges ahead, which include the amendment of Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) Act.
Others are the appointment of BNSC board, depletion of government subventions and the Commission’s retrenchments.
Different sporting codes are busy preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualifiers and there is need for the minister to convince government to increase annual subventions such codes normally receive.
Botswana Golf Union president, Enoch Mushango told Mmegi Sport that looking at all ministers, there is a lot of inexperience, which is a good opportunity for a fresh start.
He said it was a chance to give civil servants to do the technical work while ministers focus on political issues as it used to be.
“As for sport, the minister is young and would need support from all sport leaders to succeed. The ministry administration requires a serious transformation for the new minister to be effective,” he said. Mushango added that transformation is also necessary at BNSC.
“I believe in a wait-and-see approach to give the minister the opportunity. But having observed his participation over a long period of time, I believe he is worthy. We would provide the required advice and assistance that should see him succeed in changing sport,” Mushango said.
Botswana Karate Association president, Tshepho Bathai said they definitely welcome the appointment of Rakgare.
“I have total confidence in him as he has a thorough understanding of sport issues. As a former journalist, he is knowledgeable of what is needed to develop sport to greater heights,” he said. Bathai said there is need to complete the review of the BNSC Act, to align it with international best practice standards in sport.
He said there is need for the minister to have one-on-one meetings with different sporting codes, so that
Table Tennis president, Kudzanani Motswagole said Rakgare is a panacea to sport problems. He said the minister is starting on a clean slate and sport expect a lot from him.
“He is what we needed in sport. One of the first things that he should focus on is the amendment of the BNSC Act. Right now some people feel that BNSC and BNOC should merge while others feel they should continue the way they are,” he said.
“If we are to separate them, the question is do we have the resources to start afresh. How would the merger affect future events? Power and positions would change.”
Motswagole said sport is a completely different entity and cannot be mixed with recreation.
“Right now we are fighting a losing battle against Constituency League. It is affecting the professional sport. We are struggling with funding while funds are channelled towards recreation league. Those are other things he should look into,” he said.
Botswana Football Association (BFA) president, Mclean Letshwiti said it is difficult to judge Rakgare because he has never worked with him before. Despite that, Letshwiti said the new minister is still young and understands football politics and dynamics.
“We are waiting to hear his vision regarding sport and what should be done to take sport to a higher level. What we require from him is support and as BFA we would do the job on the ground. Right now BFA has been allocated a plot, it is up to me to find money to develop it,” he said.
Letshwiti said they will wait and see how different he is from the previous ministers.