...As some question the return of Mooketsi
The recent developments at the crisis-prone Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) have left a bitter among close observers who now accuse the association of recycling tired officials. Last weekend’s election of new BAA National Executive Committee (NEC) members saw three former officials returning to the executive. While the committee is faced with a mammoth task of restoring stability at the association some are of a view that the leadership does not have the capacity to turn things around. Thari Mooketsi, who was handed the BAA presidency on a silver platter at the BBA Special General Meeting, has served as the president before but was constantly rattled through motions of no confidence. Just whether confidence has now be restored on him remains questionable, with some believing that he was voted in based on availability than anything else. Former BAA additional member, Kenneth Kikwe, now comes in as Vice President. Raymond Phale was roped in as the Secretary General with Ipolokeng Ramatshaba being brought back as Public Relations Officer (PRO). Of the four who have been brought into the new committee, three have previously served in the BAA NEC. After the affiliates piled pressure on him through a number of no confidence motions Mooketsi resigned from the committee. Kikwe resigned, citing that he could not work well with Mooketsi. Ramatshaba, on the other hand, was voted out by the affiliates who opted for another individual who later resigned from the position. All this looks like a spider web with some asking questions if it was the best move to re-elect them to the committee. They are questioning whether this time Mooketsi will be able to captain the ship better than before.
Good move or not?
For years BAA has always been struck by administration problems and infightings that in some cases forced the dissolution of the committee. Since 2010, the association has never had a president who finished his term as they were either forced out with a motion of no confidence or resigned. Mooketsi’s return has caused concern to some who feel that the man has been tried in the past and failed. “At the moment what BAA needs is a leader who will have his authority felt by all the stakeholders. The association needs a person who will deal straight away with the infightings and administration problems that are common,” said a source that preferred anonymity for fear of victimisation. The source went on to question how Mooketsi who failed to bring stability and continuity to the association in the past will be able to do it now. Furthermore, he aired worries with Mooketsi’s age which he said might affect his productivity going forward. During his time as president Mooketsi was always under attack from the affiliates who questioned his leadership style. The affiliates said he failed to make sure that the association was run smoothly. They were particular with lack of communication from the association to affiliates and what they called favouritism towards certain affiliates. The clubs felt that Mooketsi was not doing enough to make sure things were done the right way at the association. Some even pointed out that he had no road map for the association. They argued that Mooketsi’s leadership style was lax hence he had to be pushed out. Despite this, Mooketsi has got vast experience in sport administration. Another question that popped up was whether Mooketsi and Kikwe will now be able to work together after the fall out they had previously. At the time Kikwe decried lack of communication from the committee, which it made it difficult for him to work to his potential. All this happened when Kikwe was just an additional member and since now he comes back as a vice president it is believed that things will be better. Despite doubts on Mooketsi some people believe he can be able to turn things around since he knows what he is getting into.
Knows it all
To others, Mooketsi’s return is a welcome development. Those in support of him believe that since he knows the problems facing the association and can be able to solve them. Mooketsi said his first priority will be to make sure that all structures of the association are functional, including the clubs. He said the clubs need to be functional and capacitated to ensure growth of both athletes and administrators. More emphasis will be put towards administration, according to Mooketsi, to create strong leaders. “With a strong leadership from the clubs, the association is likely to grow further,” he said. He aims to see the association grow and do well. Mooketsi said to do well good strong leaders are needed, hence the need to train leaders at club level.
Mooketsi said the troubles that the association finds itself in are due to poor administration. He said all administration problems are from the club level, hence the need to address it there. “Some of the people at club level do not have administration skills. We need to capacitate them from that level to prevent the problem from reaching the executive level,” said Mooketsi. What he has observed as causing major disturbance in BAA is the leaking of internal matters by some officials. To him, this is very dangerous and has the capability of destroying the association. The BAA president vowed that those who will be caught doing this will be made to answer to the NEC. “People who do this are mainly those are not performing according to standards. These people have to answer for their actions if they are caught so that we protect the integrity of the association,” added Mooketsi. He strongly warned members to desist from enticing affiliates with favours for them to be elected into positions. According to Mooketsi, this is one thing that causes the conflicts that threaten the association. He urged affiliates to stop putting their interests ahead of the association.
Mooketsi’s main intention is to see the association growing. He said he wants to see athletics continuing to produce competitive athletes who can compete well internationally. He said for this to happen all stakeholders have to come together and work collectively towards the common goal. He believes all have to start with educating and capacitating club leadership on how to run the affairs of their clubs. Since these leaders are the ones who take up positions at the executive, Mooketsi said they need to be trained thoroughly to have good leaders even at the NEC level. “With proper training, leaders will know how to handle themselves and the internal issues of the association.” Furthermore Mooketsi said, under his leadership, there will be a number of coaching symposiums that will help capacitate the coaches in the country. It is a concern to him that most of the clubs do not have qualified coaches, hence the below par performances. He pointed out the need for each club to have a qualified coach for the association to continue producing quality athletes. A sport science approach also is on the cards, according to Mooketsi. He said all this will be an effort to bring the coaches and administrators to par with some athletes who have out grown the association. “Our athletes are growing very quickly and some are out growing their coaches even the administrators. We need to close this gap and train our personnel so that we have continuity and control,” he said.