Namibia: Gymnastics President Comes Out Firing

The president of the Namibia Gymnastics Federation, Sonja Olivier has come out firing, saying the Namibia Sport Commission does not have the power to dismiss it.

The NSC held a press conference on Wednesday where it announced that the NGF had been placed under administration with immediate effect, but Olivier yesterday said they would appeal its ruling.

"The annual general assembly of the Namibia Gymnastics Federation elects its officials and they give them the mandate to exercise their executive powers and only that body has the authority to take away those powers. Did the Sport Commission vote us in? They don't have the power to make such a decision," she said.

Olivier furthermore disputed the comments of NSC chief administrator Freddy Mwiya that they had agreed to holding new elections on 15 August.

"The statement that we all agreed to new elections on 15 August is a complete misrepresentation because from the start my board members and I have highlighted the irregularities and the process that needs to be followed. It's completely unconstitutional and that outcome will also be null and void.

"I repeatedly told them that elections can only take place at the AGM, as it's stated in our constitution, but they are making the rules up as they go along," she said.

Some of the other discrepancies Olivier highlighted was the need to give 45 days notice before holding an election, and the NSC's attempt to block her from standing for the presidency again.

"They created a sub committee which I was also on, but then said that I was conflicted and could not stand for the presidency. But they don't have the power to change that, we only report to the minister. We raised many more concerns ahead of the 15 August elections, but they were not heeded," she said.

"It was a shock to see on national TV and to read in the papers about it. I was not contacted for my side of the story, but there are a lot of other things happening behind the scenes," she added.

Olivier said she would welcome a forensic audit of the NGF.

"I welcome with open arms the forensic investigation that they intend to do. I first served on the NGF as secretary general in February 2016 and then already I flagged the executive council and the NSC about the financials that were not in order. The last set of financials we have on record, which were not even audited were for 2013 and the Olympic Committee and Sport Commission know that."

Olivier said her executive had worked hard to pave the way for a new constitution.

"We sent a draft constitution with its amendments and policies and procedures to the NSC on 16 July and we also created a national rulebook that never existed before. That statement of the NSC implies that no work had been done which is completely untrue and we have already sent a lot of documents to the Sport Commission," she said.

"We also sent the draft constitution to the international federation of gymnastics (FIG) and they replied and said there were a few minor details to look at but the rest of the document looked good," she added.

Olivier said they had planned to adopt the draft constitution with amendments at a special general assembly tomorrow, but that it would now not take place.

"The process has now been derailed and the assembly will be deemed not to be in good faith," she said.

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