Botswana: Bona Cancels Elections

Gaborone — Botswana Netball Association (BONA) has canceled an elective general assembly scheduled for Saturday at the last minute.

BONA notified members on Friday evening that the assembly meeting had been cancelled until further notice, after realisation that none of the members and or teams satisfy Article 8 (b) and (e) of BONA 2009 constitution.

'Article (b) states that membership of the association shall be open to all netball clubs registered with the Registrar of Societies whilst (e) says requirements for affiliation to the association shall include club constitution, Registrar of Societies certificate and payment of the annual subscription fees as agreed by the general membership from time to time.'

BONA had on Tuesday communicated to members that it has received an elections committee writ and that all the nominees had been verified as illegible to contest for BONA elections as per the elections guideline.

The cancellation has however left netball pundits and members asking questions as to why BONA communicated to them on Tuesday about the elections, but three days later said the same teams that endorsed candidates were not compliant.

BONA secretary Ntebo Maplanka said elections were supposed to be held on Saturday to elect BONA president, vice president projects and events, sports development officer, marketing and public relations officer.

She said BONA national executive committee interrogated the processes, adding that for a very long time, they had been cautioning about compliance and encouraging teams to ensure compliance with the constitution.

"In 2020, we were able to hold our annual general assembly, this was because six out of the initial 14 teams that we had were registered with the Registrar of Societies and were in good standing," she said.

Maplanka further said in the 2020 meeting teams, which did not comply were allowed in as observers, hoping they had learnt the importance of complying.

"In the same meeting, we invited Botswana National Sport Commission chairperson, Marumo Morule and we also invited Registrar of Societies representative who unfortunately did not turn up, but gave us notes to share with our members. This was done in bid to capacitate teams on what it meant to register with Registrar of Societies," she said.

Sunday Standard sports editor, Botlhale Koothopile, who has been following BONA developments, said the decision by association to suspend elections was unanticipated. "Looking at reasons advanced for the postponement, its difficult for anyone to defend their decision and say it was taken in good faith," he said.

Sometimes back, he said BONA executive called a press briefing where they informed the nation that, when they got into office, they realised that there had been administrative lapses and no clubs had been compliant even before they got into office, 'meaning BONA had no affiliates'.

Koothopile said the committee was asked if they would consider themselves not to be legally elected as they were brought into office by non-members, but they said they were working on rectifying the anomaly, thus making all to believe the committe had been hard at work to ensure affiliates were compliant.

"We were made to believe that the majority of clubs had already complied to be called BONA affiliates. It is now surprising to hear that clubs are not compliant again. The question is, what happened? Did all clubs suddenly become non-compliant again," he said.

Further, he said the timing of the suspension of the AGM would also raises eyebrows given that on Tuesday they announced the elective AGM date and names of candidates, but three days later, they announced suspension of the elective AGM.

"Was the realisation that clubs are not compliant so sudden? Or had the current committee, contrary to what it had been telling us failed to ensure clubs were compliant?

How did they pick this in two days while they failed to when they started preparations for the AGM? Were the candidates endorsed? If yes, by who," he asked rhetorically.

Source : BOPA

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