Softball faces constitutional dilemma

Challenges: Softball has to make crucial appointments before the end of June
Challenges: Softball has to make crucial appointments before the end of June

The Botswana Softball Association (BSA) committee finds itself sandwiched between a rock and a hard place over the appointment of two executive members.

BSA must fill two posts of public relations officer and treasurer. The two fell vacant following the resignations of Rijn Shagwa and Kelebogile Seitei.

Now the association has to make the appointments before the end of June to meet a Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) deadline.

The BNSC told affiliates to submit names of their treasurers last week Friday, but BSA missed the deadline. The softball body is racing against time to submit the name before Tuesday. Failure to submit would result in the forfeiture of the coronavirus (COVID-19) project funds.

BSA vice president, Gontlafetse Batsetswe told Mmegi Sport they are forced to fill in the gaps. But the COVID-19 pandemic makes it difficult to conduct BSA business the normal way.

“South and Northern zones have submitted names of which votes were carried electronically. We could not have a face-to-face meeting because of the pandemic. Our annual general meeting was supposed to be held in April,” he said.

Puso Kgosietsile is the preferred name for the treasurer’s position while Thato Matenge’s has been forwarded as the public relations officer after Letsweletse Jonas pulled out. The BSA constitution is proving to be the stumbling block, as it stipulates that where a committee member is dismissed, resigns, dies or is otherwise rendered unavailable in the first quarter of the year following elections, the president shall call a special general meeting for a by-election.

Where the above circumstances occur in the last quarter of the year, the president may assign the duties of the vacant post of a caretaker until next election. The last quarter starts next month because the BSA calendar starts in April. 

“There would always be someone who would take us to task on that clause of the constitution but it was not our intention to be ignorant. The same document is silent on electronic voting,” Batsetswe said.

When asked what would happen if one of the nominees declines, Batsetswe said it would mean they wait for the president, Thabo Thamane to co-opt.  For the president to nominate, the NEC must be in its last quarter in office, which means he can only appoint when we are left with nine months or less.  The term ends in April 2021. As it stands, the NEC cannot verify its own elections, as the process would be deemed lacking in objectivity.

Batsetswe said Thamane has not been part of the process thus far.  He said they would wait for his final word. “The nominations went well and the names were forwarded by clubs after which voting was done. The nominees are onboard, but if one of them decides to pull out, we are then back to zero. That is when the president would co-opt,” Batsetswe said.

Editor's Comment
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When the pandemic reached Botswana’s shores last year March, a nation united in the quest to defeat an invisible enemy. It is a moment never witnessed in recent memory, with the catastrophes of the world war and the 1918 Spanish influenza being the only other comparisons in living memory. Botswana, like the rest of the world, had to readjust its priorities and channel most, if not all, of its energies towards fighting COVID-19. It has not been...

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