From the first ever virtual ordinary general assembly, through to a first win by an independent candidate, a first re-election of a sitting president in recent memory, to a presidential candidate receiving zero votes, last Saturday’s Botswana Football Association (BFA) elective meeting had all the ingredients of a humdinger, writes MQONDISI DUBE
Social media was a hive of activity last Saturday as scores of Botswana Football Association (BFA) delegates convened to elect a new committee.
Spread across four venues, the virtual meeting did not disappoint, particularly at the ballot.
The holding of a virtual meeting was a first, and the BFA received praise for the manner it conducted the meeting, which included the hot potato of elections.
Like in 2016, there were three presidential candidates, with Ookeditse Malesu the new entrant in place of Solomon Mantswe who opted not to contest this time around.
The usual suspects, incumbent, Maclean Letshwiti and Tebogo Sebego had been tipped for another bruising battle, while Malesu was considered a dark horse.
However, few had predicted Malesu would walk away without a single vote, which sets an unenviable record.
Malesu, although he stated his desire to return to the ring, might opt to stay away after the weekend pummelling. However, he was lauded for raising his hand despite odds stacked against him.
Sebego had, meanwhile, received an untimely boost in the run-up to the election, when one of his rival’s trusted lieutenants, Maokaneng Bontshetse joined camp.
Bontshetse left the Letshwiti camp after disagreements over allocation of positions. This appeared to sway the Francistown vote in Sebego’s favour. However, the Sebego camp surprisingly suffered a heavy defeat in the region thought to be their stronghold.
Letshwiti became the first president in recent memory to retain the seat, after an initial identical 32-28 defeat of Sebego, which was a repeat of the 2016 score.
The two had to go for a run-off where Letshwiti improved the margin to 33-27. The election intrigue extended to the counting, with no less than three run-offs, as weary delegates kept going back to the ballot box. A marathon contest was between Alec Monyake and Kesego Okie for the additional member post. The two were initially tied at 25-25, before another stalemate at 30-30, before Monyake eventually prevailed.
The run-off also produced an independent winner for the first time in recent history.
Lobito Ncube, the only female in the committee, was elected the women’s representative. The elections also shone the spotlight on the influence of social media. There was evident excitement, with most, particularly on Facebook, predicting a Sebego win.
But like with general elections, social media went off on a tangent.
There has not been a shortage of drama post the elections, after some candidates challenged the outcome.
However, the election lived up to its billing, delivering the expected thrills and spills. Botswana was left with rave reviews for the manner in which the virtual meeting was conducted.