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BFA campaigns maintain tempo

MQONDISI DUBE
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The Botswana Football Association (BFA) race has taken off after a brief pit stop.

The engines are full throttle after a quiet few days, as the campaign faded from the public eye.

The public appeared to grow weary with the new date for the elections remaining unknown.

The association was scheduled to hold elections on August 8, 2020 but the electoral committee faced challenges and postponed to August 22.

When it seemed it was all systems go the momentum was broken as the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions meant the contest was reserved for another day.

While energies appeared to drop, the drawn-out spectacle is back in the public space.

BFA president, Maclean Letshwiti breathed fresh impetus into the contest, wrote a missive to first vice president contestant, Maokaneng Bontshetse this week.

Letshwiti wanted Bontshetse to answer as to why he had abused office through using a vehicle belonging to the association to carry out personal campaigns.

Bontshetse was given 24 hours to respond and show cause why disciplinary action could not be instituted.

Instead of being direct, Bontshetse chose to query certain issues, and said he would await Letshwiti’s responses before taking the next step. Bontshetse was effectively daring Letshwiti.

The Francistown Regional Football Association (FRAFA) chairperson was previously in Letshwiti’s camp. He decamped recently over differences regarding his candidacy for the second vice president’s post, and immediately joined Tebogo Sebego who is challenging for the presidency.

While the issue could end up with disciplinary action, observers believe the campaigns should focus more on the ball.

Sebego and Ookeditse Malesu, the other presidential candidate, recently wrote to FIFA, seeking to nullify the current committee’s tenure, arguing it had lapsed.

FIFA however, wrote in May, giving Letshwiti’s term an extended mandate in the event of elections being postponed.

The fights have

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escalated in recent months, with the vetting out of both Malesu and Sebego adding fuel to the fire.

The electoral committee had vetted the two out, arguing they had pending cases, and therefore, fell short of FIFA’s integrity process.

However, Letshwiti’s rivals hit back, with Tariq Babitseng, aligned to Sebego, seeking to have the incumbent president thrown out of the race. He cited, amongst others, conflict of interest.

But the Appeals Committee threw out the contestation, and also reinstated both Malesu and Sebego.

It remains unclear when the congress would be held, but the country is at the end of a six-month State of Emergency, although this could be extended.

COVID-19 cases are rising, but reports are that the BFA National Executive Committee (NEC) is committed to holding the elections as soon as possible.

Letshwiti has said it is not him, but the dictates of the current health situation that are holding back the general assembly.

Observers believe there could be a mixed committee drawing from all three camps.

In the last election, only two candidates survived from the Sebego camp, but Masego Nchingane has since moved to the Letshwiti side.

But it is the prized presidential seat that has attracted most of the attention, with Letshwiti arguing continuity is key.

Sebego points to unfinished business, while Malesu believes football has gone off the rails.

Former Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) chairperson, Solly Reikeletseng offered his view on why the fight for sports positions is fierce.

“Sportmanship is like an addiction. It is more than the element of passion. Once hooked to the love of sport, nothing will ever matter. You become a slave to volunteering in that space,” Reikeletseng said.



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