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Pool members want president's powers clipped

CALISTUS KOLANTSHO
Snooker action PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Snooker clubs are infuriated by a certain clause in the Botswana Billiards Confederation (BBC) constitution, which they feel gives too much power to the president

The members argue, the ‘offending’ clause, Article 4.6 gives sweeping powers to the president, and want the section to be revoked.

Article 4.6 reads: “The president who is the chairperson of the Confederation shall be the head member of the Confederation and shall delegate work where he/she sees it due/fit to his/her subordinates whom must perform it without fail or excuses”.

BBC president, Terrence Tiroyakgosi said the clause had not been applied since the snooker body’s 2016 annual general meeting (AGM). He said the members had approved the constitution at the AGM.

“I did not tamper with the document. It stands, as it was when the members approved it. I have never denied anybody (an opportunity) to apply for membership and those who claim to have applied should show you evidence,” he said.

Most of the disgruntled members have grouped to form Mellas Forum, an informal body, through which players participate in tournaments.

One member, Mooketsi Sedimo argued Tiroyakgosi and his committee added the clause in order to cling to power.

“The president has been changing members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) as much as he wants. Anybody who did not agree with him was replaced with an approval of the assembly.

There are new faces in the committee that we do not know and they are not active in pool, including himself,” he said.

He said the situation deteriorated when a scheduled AGM in 2018 was changed into a special meeting.

Sedimo said such a move blocked members’ intention to pass a vote of no confidence on Tiroyakgosi and his committee.

“Since they were voted into office, they only organised one tournament.

During that meeting we wanted to express our displeasure about the absence of leadership. They informed us that they would not accept any club from a bar to affiliate and they would not allow pool to be played in bars,” he said.

Sedimo wondered where pool should be played in the country because there is no venue. He said since the special general meeting, Mellas Forum has organised several major tournaments.

He said at the moment BBC does not have any affiliates or if they have some, they are unknown.

“We fund those tournaments, so we wonder what they are doing with the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) annual grant,” he said.

Sedimo said BBC leadership does not accept individual affiliation but pool is an individual sport. He said they have lost confidence in the leadership because it is not doing anything.

“I have engaged Tiroyakgosi many times. I even invited him to a tournament in Tutume. I wanted him to come and benchmark. I am in touch with other African countries where they take pool seriously. Those countries are affiliated to the All Africa Pool Association (AAPA),” Sedimo said.

He added they could not affiliate to AAPA because they are not under BBC.  He explained BBC has blocked them and they cannot even play in open tournaments in other countries.

“Those countries are always advising us to

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sort out our affairs. We need support to remove the committee from office because they do not know what they are doing and they do not love the game,” Sedimo said.  Furthermore, Sedimo said there is a possibility of the committee blocking clubs from affiliating since they decided to part ways with BBC after the special meeting.

“By blocking us, they would mobilise new clubs to affiliate in order to make the numbers.

I am talking about people who have never attended any major tournament. It is a bitter pill to swallow,” he said.

Sedimo said they tried to negotiate with the executive so that they find a common understanding but hit a brick wall.

“We were asking them to give us 50% of the seats in the board because they do not like the game as much as we do, but they refused,” he added.

David Ndei of Razi Pool Club said he failed to affiliate to the BBC, as a result, he is a member of the Mellas Forum.

“Most of the pool players and clubs have lost trust in the current committee since 2018 and there has never been a way of addressing issues.

Most established pool players and clubs have been standing on their own through the unofficial Mellas Forum group, thus BBC redirected their focus on development structures, notable by recruiting young players from colleges,” he said.

Ndei said Mellas Forum offers more exposure through tournaments and individual challenges.

“I am not aware of BBC activities since 2018 and I doubt if there is any despite the power the committee has. To join BBC is questionable, especially their constitution,” Ndei said.

He said the sport should unite BBC and Mellas Forum in order to rebuild pool.

“Some clubs have registered with Registrar of Societies, unfortunately they do not want to affiliate with BBC for fear that the committee might impose Article 4.6 on some clubs,” he said. Another snooker player, Marang Morolong said clubs were unwilling to affiliate with the BBC.  “They have had only four affiliates in four years of being in office, Acres, Matsubutsubu, University of Botswana and Botho University. At the moment they are just a committee operating in the office without a mandate,” he said.

Morolong, who once served as a public relations officer, said in four years, Mellas Forum has organised major tournaments, which attracted players from South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Responding to the allegations levelled against his committee, Tiroyakgosi said the allegations were baseless.  “I do not know those people. If they want to be our members, they should follow the right channels. They should show you evidence that they have applied,” Tiroyamodimo said.

When asked if he would be contesting the upcoming elections, Tiroyakgosi said he was not in a position to respond.

“You can write what you like because you like hear-say.  I am busy signing new affiliates. I have five clubs that want membership, others are in Mochudi and Kanye,” Tiroyakgosi snapped.



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