The Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) board has recommended Professor Martin Mokgwathi to succeed Solomon Reikeletseng as the chairperson.
But the decision is subject to vetting or further interrogation by the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Tshekedi Khama who has said he wants an individual who is not tainted by sports politics.
Mokgwathi was seen as the front-runner, but is currently suspended by his employer, the University of Botswana over plagiarism claims, a development that might hurt his chances. Khama said, he will break from established norm and will not consider party colours when making the appointment.
The seat remained vacant following the resignation of Reikeletseng last month. BNSC board member, Gift Nkwe said they are waiting for the appointment of the new chairperson. He said they have made a recommendation to the Minister.
“We have agreed that the chairperson should be from within the board. Hence we recommended somebody within. I am not in a position to reveal the name of the person that we have recommended,” Nkwe said. However, impeccable sources said Mokgwathi’s name has been forwarded to the Minister, who wants to change the way the appointment is made.
“The Minister can turn down the recommendations, including the person failing vetting by DIS, the Minister being dissatisfied with the person for one reason or another,” the source said. Over the years, BNSC chairpersons were picked from amongst candidates seen as sympathetic to the government of the day.
Past chairpersons, the late Mompati Merafhe, Dorcus Makgato and Boyce Sebetela have gone on to hold senior positions in both the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and government.
But ‘TK’ is keen to buck the trend, and wants to appoint his new chairperson, regardless of political affiliation.
Khama said the key was to pick an individual who will drive the BNSC’s mandate.
“With diligence and efficiency, whoever that person may be.
I am actually not looking at party affiliation but rather the person’s ability,” he said. There have been names that have been proposed through social media for Khama to consider when he makes his appointment but he insists that he wants someone who has not been previously entangled in sport politics.
Former Botswana Netball Association president, Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego and former top athlete and also BNSC member, Tsoseletso Magang’s names have also been thrown around. However, the Minister might spring a surprise and bring a new face to sport.