Boka flooded with problems

Tshepo Kehimile
Bakwadi & Bathai (L-R)

Interim committee suspend ousted President’s club

While the rest of the country waits desperately for the rains to start, for the swamped Botswana Karate Association (BOKA), the rains never stop; indeed it is pouring with problems!

Less than a month after taking control of the sport on a four-month posting, interim President, Mpho Bakwadi and his six-man committee have suspended Karate No-Michi – an affiliate owned by ousted former President, Tshepho Bathai.

The club’s BOKA membership was put on ice, with the new powers-that-be citing unpaid affiliation fees and corruption.

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In the suspension letter, dated 11 October, BOKA state, “Your federation, being Karate No-Michi Botswana, purchased medals to the tune of P20, 509 and P1, 800 for branding medals. The medals bought are reported to have been bought for both your Club Championship and Lobatse Sports Festival, an event which was held at Lobatse.

“We are of the view that you did commit to this knowing very well that Lobatse Sports Festival and style tournaments are not funded by BOKA or Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) hence this suspension with immediate effect pending the conclusion of the investigations.”

Speaking to Voice Sport last week, Bakwadi stressed this was not a case of aiming a low blow at Bathai, insisting his committee had little choice but to suspend No-Michi.

“Upon taking over, we found that there were so many issues of maladministration. That motivated the suspensions, which are some of the acts of bringing the house to order,” he explained.

Sending a stern warning to Bathai and his suspended committee, the temporary new broom continued, “We are going to make sure that they account, and remember we have been crying about accountability. We cannot let a few individuals destroy our sport by issuing purchase orders while the association is struggling financially. For me that is being careless and very irresponsible!”

As for what else he hopes to achieve during his four-month term, Bakwadi, who lost the 2017 elections to Bathai by 11 votes to six, told Voice Sport there was much to do.

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“We are going to call elections as per the mandate we were given by the Congress. The welfare of our karate students is a priority. We have to bring back the sponsors to karate and win the parent’s confidence again as we take the sport to greater heights.”

When contacted for his view, Bathai, who has now been booted out of office on a motion of no confidence twice, suffering the same fate back in 2014, maintained Bakwadi had no authority to suspend either him, his committee or his club.

“Those people have no access to matters of the association. The reason why we have not been responding to these letters is because we do not recognise them as the interim committee because the meeting that they held was not procedural.”

Bathai and his entre administration were suspended on 24 September at a special meeting called by BOKA affiliates, complaining of lack of accountability on the association’s finances and national team selections.

Bathai and his committee failed to attend the meeting and were suspended in their absence – an act he insists was illegitimate.

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“We have written a letter to them asking them to provide proof that indeed they have held that particular meeting and also it is being recognized by the Registrar of Societies but they failed to do so,” he hit back.

As for No-Michi’s suspension, Bathai labeled it a ‘witch hunt’ based on lies.

“We paid the affiliation fee on the 31st of March 2022, and some other part of the letter which suggests that I have misused the association funds is totally a witch hunt. I just hope they could call me and ask so that I show them what really transpired and stop making up stories about me,” he concluded defiantly.

We both camps determined to stick to their guns, the rains seem set to pour over BOKA for a while to come!

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