Botswana athletics in crisis as three top members resign

By Bakang Mhaladi

GABORONE – Botswana’S top-performing sport code, athletics, was left in a lurch this week after a shock weekend resignation of three executive committee members.

The Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) held its annual general meeting on Saturday, but in an unexpected turn of events, its president, Moses Bantsi, his deputy, Ronald Masalila and secretary general, Kebaitse Legojane, threw in the towel.

The top three positions were left vacant after BAA affiliates made an unsuccessful attempt to topple Legojane, arguing he had failed in his duties.

But the move back-fired spectacularly when the majority voted against the motion of no confidence on Legojane.

In a surprise twist, Bantsi and Masalila, in solidarity with Legojane, stepped down leaving the affiliates in a state of shock.

“We did not expect this. We had passed a vote of no confidence on the secretary general, which we lost, but to our surprise, Bantsi and Masalila decided to join Legojane and step down,” an executive member with Orapa athletics club said.

The athletics body now faces a crisis as the constitution is silent on the co-opting of members in case of resignations.

“There are legal implications if we co-opt. The remaining members hold positions which are below those of the three who resigned. We intend to consult the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) and Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) for guidance. We would also engage our clubs,” BAA treasurer, Brian Mosweu said.

Masalila, one of the members who quit, said they had to leave since some members had passed a vote of no confidence on one of their members, meaning the committee had failed.

The affiliates had cited poor communication between clubs and the secretary general for the reason behind the motion of no confidence. But Masalila felt the clubs were being dishonest but the only honourable thing to do was to quit.

BAA has been the shining code in the country after producing world-class athletes, who include former 400m world champion Amantle Montsho, 800m Commonwealth Games champion and 2012 silver medalist Nijel Amos, world 400m junior champion Baboloki Thebe and former African 400m record holder Isaac Makwala. However, the sport has been continuously dogged by administrative controversies despite strides on the track.

March 2017
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