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Karate election dispute could end up in court

MQONDISI DUBE
Botched effort: Bakwadi dropped out of the race at the last minute PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
Botswana Karate Association (BOKA) presidential candidate, Mpho Bakwadi is considering approaching the courts to nullify the results of elections held early this month.

Bakwadi opted out of the contest at the last minute, citing irregularities. Tshepho Bathai retained his seat, but Bakwadi is unhappy with the process.

He recently approached the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) to intervene. However, the sports umbrella body indicated its hands were tied to arbitrate in the matter.

“We wish from the outset to state that the BNSC has no powers to annul election results of National Sport Federations, and as such, that option does not exist to us. The Commission is presently processing the contents of your letter and other information that we have and/or may request, with respect to the recently held BOKA elections.

This is with a view to allowing us to form a position on the basis of which we will make a determination of whether or not there is any action that we can take, against BOKA and/or any of the parties that were involved in the election,” BNSC wrote, in response to Bakwadi’s request that the election result be nullified.

The BNSC advised Bakwadi to explore other recourse avenues, which include approaching the Registrar of Societies.

“We will revert to you in writing in due course once we have firmed our position on the matter,” the letter from acting BNSC CEO, Tuelo Serufho reads.

Bakwadi said after the BNSC response, he will meet his team to discuss the way forward.

“It looks like the court of law is the only one that can

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nullify the election. I thought BNSC can call us so that we discuss and resolve the issue amicably. Yes, in all likelihood, we will end up in court. There were irregularities,” Bakwadi said.

BOKA president, Bathai had said protestations over the outcome of the result were water under the bridge.

“I think it will come to rest very soon. We met on Wednesday, he (Bakwadi) looks fine. We have been busy with hand over between the past members of the executive and the current,” Bathai said

But Bakwadi wants to press ahead with challenging the re-election of Bathai and his committee.

“You have to be calm all the time. What matters is to seek justice and fairness. I don’t have a problem with Bathai as a person and friend. What I want is fairness. They suspended me, and then lifted my suspension. This affects me as I went to the elections under investigation,” Bakwadi said.

Bakwadi was suspended after some karate coaches wrote to BOKA complaining about a statement he made about sexual harassment being rife in the sport.

“I simply said if I am elected, I will fight sexual harassment, but then some coaches jumped and wrote a letter. Maybe there is something, there is no smoke without fire. I was just referring to all coaches, not just in the national team.”

The build-up to the elections was marred by tension, with some individuals and karate styles suspended.



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