Delay in announcing candidates causes stir
In a contentious move expected to kick-up a cloud of drama, the Botswana Football Association (BFA) Electoral Committee has postponed the publication of candidates’ names for the coming elections.
Vetting of applicants was due to be completed by Monday 29 June with the candidates officially announced on Tuesday.
However, on the day it was meant to publicise the list of candidates (30 June), the committee instead released a statement indicating ‘the process of examining the names has taken longer than initially anticipated’.
The statement goes on to say, “The process is ongoing and the publication of list of candidates will be publicised as soon as [is] reasonably possible.”
With the elections scheduled for 8 August, some contenders believe the delay is a disruption tactic from the current regime designed to derail their preparations.
Presidential candidate, Tebogo Sebego is furious about the development, telling Voice Sport it has seriously inconvenienced and messed-up their plans.
Sebego, who is looking to regain the position he narrowly lost to Maclean Letshwiti four years ago, revealed his team had intended to launch their manifesto and candidates next week.
“We can only do that after our candidates are confirmed. Now our hands are tied we really don’t know why this is happening. We expect the committee to be independent and consider other applicants’ interest. Our team has seven candidates and if there is an issue during this process and we are forced to replace them, we will not have enough time. It means we are going to spend more time again on appeals and coming up with other strategies,” griped Sebego, adding that despite everything, his team remain unshaken.
“The delay will not shift our focus and we are determined to carry a robust campaign,” he maintained.
Sharing similar sentiments, Ookeditse Malesu, who is viewed as an outsider for the Presidency, cried foul, noting his camp will not have the time to complete the campaigns they had originally planned.
He accused the current regime of campaigning openly under the pretence of pushing the association’s programmes.
“This is not fair. Time is not on our side. We are only allowed to campaign after vetting process. If we try to do underground campaigns, they are likely to use that against us. We live in a democratic country and just want everyone to be given fair opportunity,” maintained Malesu.
For his part, speaking to Voice Sport, Electoral Committee Chairperson, Moemedi Letina explained this was a new process in the BFA elections and they did not anticipate vetting to take so long.
“We realised that time allocated is insufficient and we do not want to rush things. We are done with other applicants but it will be appropriate to publish the names once. People never get satisfied. There are lots of issues arising during the process like Covid-19 regulations compliance and shortage of fuel. If one of the committee members has a fever, he or she cannot be part of our verification meetings. The process is ongoing and the publication of list of candidates will be published as soon as is reasonably possible. We apologise for inconvenience caused,” said Letina.