IAAF statement angers Namibia

The Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, John Mutorwa, recently blasted the IAAF for siding with a corrupt and mismanaged Athletics Namibia (AN) leadership led by Alpha Kangueehi. The government had endorsed and supported the motion of no confidence passed on the Athletics Namibia by affiliate members last August, but Chinue, who was in Namibia recently, said that the world athletics body recognised the current AN executive of Kangueehi.

Chinue, who came to Namibia to listen to the dispute and problems affecting AN, said that, according to what he had observed, of all the affiiate members, the only region that had disrupted athletics in the country was the Khomas region, particularly its Chairman Quinton-Steele Botes.

However according to Mutorwa, the Ministry had “more than enough material evidence to convince us all that all is not well and sound in this great sports discipline called athletics,” because of the poor state of athletics management and administration.

The Minister alluded to the current disputes in athletics being similar to the ones in football, “but I am grateful that football authorities have managed to solve it amicably. The government through my ministry cannot fold its arms and allow the situation in athletics to deteriorate much longer”.

He said the government would not stand aside and watch the interests and aspirations of athletics suffer a lack of proper promotion, protection and safeguards. Said Mutorwa, “the Ministry and the Namibia Sports Commission are currently consulting with the relevant authorities to eventually ensure that the provisions of the Namibia Sports Act are practically invoked, more so if the current irresponsible pronouncements by and procrastinations of certain AN and IAAF leaders continue and persist”.

Namibia said it would not stop the international athletics watchdog, IAAF from recognising and financially supporting the Kangueehi leadership. “But we completely fail to understand why the IAAF must support an unaccountable leadership who cannot, thus far, produce the 2004/2005 audited financial statement of the organization?”

As such, any material or financial assistance, meant for athletics, emanating from government or sponsors with the exception of the IAAF, will be channeled through the Namibia Sports Commission. The Namibian government has confiscated all properties, including offices and equipment, that had been entrusted for use to the AN leadership, to be put under the responsible care and custody of the Namibia Sport Commission.

Besides the requested meeting with IAAF, the government has requested that all thirteen regions have to ensure that a successful and irreversible congress is held in November and that the NSC will continue to assist in organising the congress.

Mutorwa refuted allegations by Chinue that the latter had been in constant communication with him and that the IAAF’s stand in the Kangueehi executive was still authentic and has not been dissolved.

“I have written letters to the gentleman, (Chinue) but we have not met and I am surprised he claims we have been in constant contact. I only read in the papers that he was coming and up to now, he has not met me,” concluded the Minister.

Responding to whether the country does not fear any repercussions and or international sanctions from the athletics governing body, Mutorwa said, it was better to be banned whilst putting our house in order than to embarrass ourselves with mediocre performances on the world platform.

He went on to instruct the national leadership that will be elected at the November congress, to ensure that “Namibian athletes are properly and professionally prepared to competently and competitively participate in the 2007 All Africa Games, 2008 SCSA Zone VI Under-20 Youth Games, the 2008 Olympic Games as well other major national, regional, continental and international athletics events”.

October 2006
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