Mafeteng Athletics contest Mokonyana’s dismissal



MASERU –The Mafeteng District Athletics Association (MDAA) is contesting the dismissal of their member, Kokolia Mokonyana. Mokonyana was dismissed by the Federation of Athletics Lesotho (FAL) for assaulting one female member of the federation last year in May at FAL’s annual general meeting. But Mokonyana has since denied ever assaulting the member in question.

Mokonyana said as a policeman, he was intervening in an incident in which one male member was attacked by a group of other members, including that woman member who he said he pulled back during the incident. However, Mokonyana was found guilty of contravening Article 8.1 (g) (ii) of the constitution which stipulates that a disciplinary action may be taken against a member athlete and or official for intentionally and unlawfully assaulting another member.

As a result, FAL banned Mokonyana from all athletics activities. The local athletics mother body even instructed MDAA to also dismissed Mokonyana. But MDAA challenged FAL’s decision. “After being conscious of an unfortunate and shocking dismissal of Mr. Kokolia Mokonyana (hereinafter referred to as “the accused”) from a letter that was send to one WhatsApp group, MDAA hereby applies for appeal and stay of the accused based on Article 8.1 (e) read with Article 8.1 (f) of FAL’s constitution,” reads the MDAA’s appeal letter.

The reasons for MDAA’s application were that the accused was not informed of the charge and not summoned for hearing, amongst others. MDAA’s appeal letter further reads: “MDAA as the middleman between FAL and the accused was not informed of the hearing or prior matters thereof.” This was after Mokonyana also said he was never notified about the hearing, hence why he did show up to defend himself. MDAA’s other reasons for the application was that the accused was unconstitutionally suspended in that the tribunal which made the recommendations had no constitutional status.

Therefore, MDAA’s prayers were that the recommendations of the tribunal be nullified by an appeal panel and also that FAL’s ratification of the tribunal’s recommendations be also nullified. “The tribunal be nullified until it has been approved by AGM (Annual General Meeting), the accused be locally and internationally active in athletics and all FAL activities pending the appeal decision. “We humbly request that this matter be given utmost priority, preferable (sic) be addressed within 14 days from the day of receipt. May FAL constitution be used when resolving this sensitive issue.”

The Appeal letter, which bears the signature of MDAA’ Secretary General, Sechaba Koma, is copied to the World Athletics (WA), Confederation of African Athletics (CAA), Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LNOC), Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) and to the districts athletics associations. But FAL Secretary General, Makara Thibinyane, said they would not entertain MDAA’s appeal. “Yes, we are in receipt of the said appeal letter from people who had never been accused of the assault,” said Thibinyane in an interview with Public Eye. “The Mafeteng people (member of MDAA) had never been accused of the assault of Mr Mokonyana. They had never assaulted anyone but Mokonyana had assaulted someone.”

Thibinyane further said: “So we have seen such a letter and took note of it, but made the decision not to respond to a letter from people whom we had never accused, and that’s a technical advice we got from our lawyer.” MDAA had since written to LSRC, seeking its intervention. “Reference to section 3.5 and 18 of LSRC constitution as amended and article 8 and 9 of FAL constitution as amended, MDAA appeals to LSRC to exercise its powers and settle the disputes between FAL NEC (National Executive Committee) and MDAA in which FAL NEC failed to react to MDA’s appeal attached herewith,” reads MDAA letter to LSRC.

The letter, dated 27 April 2022, was also copied to WA, CAA, LNOC, FAL, district athletics associations and to the Director of Sports. MDAA’s President, Tlotliso Ntai, said they would be patient with LSRC which was yet to respond to the letter when this paper had an interview with Ntai this week. Attempt to get comment from both the LSRC’s Acting Chief Executive Officer Teboho Malatalia and from the commission’s Public Relations Officer Teboho Rakhomo failed as both could not be reached on their phone.

This was after Rakhomo said he was not aware of the MDAA’s appeal letter in an interview a week before, and promised to get the information from his office as soon as possible. Apart from Rakhomo, two other members of the commission also said they were not aware of the MDAA’s letter. “I don’t remember being notified about such a letter in any LSRC executive meetings which I have attended,” said one source. “Apart from that, we have a WhatsApp group where such information is usually shared but this one has never been shared.” MDAA’s letter was addressed to the LSRC CEO, Malataliana.

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