BFA wars escalate as election looms

Lekidi Football Center PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Lekidi Football Center PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO

While the Botswana Football Association (BFA) presidential elections are still 16months away, the maneuvering for positions is gaining traction, with heightened talk that former president; Tebogo Sebego is angling for a return.

Sebego has said he is still considering standing in next year’s election, but sources within his camp, the ‘Friends of Football’ say it is no brainer that he would stand.

“At the moment I am focused on stabilising Notwane. I have been requested by numerous structures and elders to stand for the BFA presidency next year. I am considering their request and will be in a position to confirm my candidature after engaging my family and my team elders. Therefore, there isn’t any campaign,” Sebego said. The Maclean Letshwiti’s administration is accused of putting in motion, a campaign to purge those aligned to the Sebego camp.

However, authorities at BFA deny the move, arguing the law has to take its course on wrong doers, regardless of who they are and that cannot be regarded as a purge. The accusations come as Sebego’s ‘right hand man’ Tariq Babitseng, faces expulsion from the Botswana Premier League board, where he sits as Extension Gunners representative. The BFA argues that, Babitseng, according to regulations, cannot sit on the board since he was expelled in 2015 after failing to retire some imprest following a trip to Guinea Bissau.

In 2015, he was charged with a breach of conduct, and Sebego confirmed his expulsion during the general assembly held on August 1, 2015 in Gaborone. Sebego said he had heard reports of purging of those perceived to be in his group.

“I have heard reports about the purging exercise. I am not able to confirm it, but it is a glaring coincidence that people who were supporting my presidency in 2016 are subject of infinite suspensions (Mabutha and Senyemba), removal (Leaketsa) and ban (Babitseng).

“Personally, I have been subjected to an unprocedural disciplinary process by the BFA, which is currently undergoing an appeal. These facts obviously raise an eyebrow and one can only hope that this isn’t the case,” Sebego said in an interview. But BFA marketing and public relations officer, Tumo Mpatane denied any moves to purge a particular group.

“There is no purge of pro-Sebego forces. Football is for all of us and we must remember that it is a game run through public funds. If we do not handle the funds well, we must be held accountable. If the leadership and system tries to bring accountability, it’s seen as wrong. How can we then ever move forward?” Mpatane asked. Regarding Babitseng’s ban, Mpatane said the matter is still being discussed with Gunners. “However, you should recall that in 2015, Mr Babitseng was dismissed from the NEC (National Executive Committee), and this was confirmed at the Annual General Assembly.

The NEC is therefore only acting on the decision of the general assembly. This only comes out now because Mr Babitseng has made a return to the structures. It is not a new matter. The NEC accounts to the general assembly and its decisions thereof,” Mpatane said.

He was quick to refute reports that the BFA intends to replace the Disciplinary Committee, after reports that it is sympathetic to the former president. Sebego was recently found not guilty of misconduct following a charge over the former president’s outbursts on Facebook.

“It is not true that the committee will be reshuffled. The DC is appointed by the general assembly and therefore, only the general assembly can remove the members,” Mpatane said.

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