Three executive committee members have resigned from Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) executive as internal strife escalates. President Moses Bantsi, his vice Rowland Masalila and Secretary General Legojane Kebaitse resigned from their positions at the association’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday. Things took a turn for the worst when some BAA affiliates passed a motion of no confidence on the secretary general, on grounds that he was not doing his job well. The affiliates called for the replacement of the secretary general because they were not happy at how he was doing his work. They mainly complained that he did not communicate well. “We raised this issue many times and still there is no improvement. We never get any communication form the secretary general and when he does communicate he does so late. This is why we are tired and now want him to be relieved of his duties,” said a representative for Orapa athletics club. A heated debate ensued with some showing heightened tempers as the president tried to protect the secretary general.
Ultimately a decision was taken for members to vote on the motion. Seven voted in support of it with four against and two spoilt votes were recorded. Since, according to the constitution, a 66% rate is required for a motion to pass it was declared that it could not pass. Members, who were determined to see Kebaitse out of office, protested the voting process and requested for a revote. However, the secretary general resigned immediately. Kebaitse chose to resign to ensure progress in the association. Immediately after him was Bantsi who also tendered his own resignation followed by vice president Masalila. Bantsi revealed in an interview after his resignation that as soon as he saw the motion he made his mind that there was no how he would remain if the secretary general goes. “When they call for motion of no confidence on the secretary general basically they are calling for no confidence on my administration. So there was no way that I could have stayed when the secretary general moved because of pressure from the affiliates,” he said.
The meeting had to be adjourned by the remaining members to allow for a special general meeting within 21 days, according to the constitution. The meeting – according to the treasurer Brian Mosweu – will be for affiliates to fill vacant positions left by those who resigned. It is not the first time this happens at BAA as four members of the committee also once resigned in 2014. At the time reports were that members were not happy with the way the then BAA president ran the affairs of the association. It is hoped that this would not affect the progress of athletics in Botswana. Athletics is one of the good performing sporting codes in the country and this leadership crisis might affect its standing. Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) CEO Tuelo Serufho condemned the crisis, saying this could have a negative effect in the development of athletes and athletics in the country. Serufho said at the moment there are major championships that are coming and if there is a leadership crisis instead of implementing strategies, then there would be problems. “We need to ensure that within the shortest possible time the issues that are resolved so that athletics can go back to normal operations,” he said.