Bare-knuckled bout as FAL goes to congress

 

  • Protracted power feuds resurface
  • Vote of no confidence in the executive looms

NTHAKO MAJORO

MASERU – The forthcoming Federation of Athletics Lesotho (FAL) assembly is expected to lay bare entrenched problems that have for years crippled the administration of athletics in the country. Some member associations are planning a motion of no confidence in the federation’s executive committee. The ordinary meeting in Maseru tomorrow is expected to be the most explosive in the federation’s history, the first since internal jostling led to the former treasurer, Kokolia Mokonyana, being banned and the Mafeteng Athletics president, Tlotliso Ntai, suspended from FAL activities.

These incidents were just part of a myriad of snags that riddled the FAL as a result of factionalism that rocked the federation, hatching the plan to oust the current committee.  Mokonyana was banned following claims he assaulted a female FAL member last year, while Ntai was suspended for allegedly putting the federation into disrepute, having been accused of leaking FAL dealings to the media.

Some athletics administrators also accuse the FAL executive committee of failing to deliver since they took over office last year, following a snap election resulting in squabbles between two factions separated by disagreements over administrative and constitutional issues.One of numerous issues of discomfort is failure by the FAL executive committee to hold the 2021annual general conference.

Speaking on the imminent congress’ set agenda and the mulled vote of no confidence, secretary general Makara Thibinyane said, “the agenda is specified in our constitution for both the ordinary and elective annual general meeting (AGM).”Thibinyane said topping deliberations will be presentation of annual reports by member associations and the FAL executive through the president, secretary and treasurer.He, however, could not rule out the likelihood of tabling a motion of no confidence by those in attendance.

“Well, people will do things the way they want. Others are saying they are going to remove us from office during the conference. So, we will wait to see what is going to happen on Saturday,” Thibinyane said.The FAL secretary general also confirmed that the federation failed to hold the conference last year, saying “we did not have an AGM last year with the main reason being lack of funds.” Thibinyane said they had to rely on the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC) for funding which, however, cited financial challenges when it was supposed to support the FAL annual meeting.

“If we had money we could have held the event, even just a special AGM, in the beginning of this year but we could not because we did not have the requisite funds,” he said. FAL president Tšeliso Pheta has, on the other hand, confirmed the rumours circulating that a plan has been hatched to remove them from office.

“There are some people in our fraternity who think an AGM is the right platform to eject others. We have heard that they are already intending to oust us,” said Pheta. “There are rumours that we have been petitioned, which is not true. It is not easy to do so in athletics, otherwise they could have done that a long time ago.” Pheta, therefore, said the planned vote of no confidence will not materialise.

“That will not happen very easily. I will still be the president of the FAL after the AGM,” a confident Pheta told Public Eye. Meanwhile, suspended Mafeteng Athletics president Ntai told this reporter that he was not aware of the plan to eject the incumbent FAL executive from office. “I was not aware of that, but if it is the president saying it, then we should know that there is no smoke without fire,” he said.

The upcoming conference, Ntai said, is very crucial following the punitive decisions taken by the executive committee, among other issues. He said this is because the conference had all the powers to endorse or reject any decision previously made by the executive committee. “Only the upcoming conference has the power to endorse or reject the decisions I am talking about and we are ready as the Mafeteng Athletics for those reports to be tabled and discussed by the membership at the AGM,” said Ntai.

While Ntai appears upbeat about the possibility of the conference reversing the executive committee’s decision to boot them out of the FAL, Thibinyane told this reporter that he (Ntai) will not be part of Saturday’s conference because he remains suspended.

“How can he be part of the AGM while he was suspended?” Thibinyane asked. But Ntai said he has not been served with a judgment to that effect. “I haven’t been served with the judgment stating my suspension yet, unless it will come as a surprise during the AGM,” said Ntai. Former FAL treasurer, Mokonyana, also said he was suspended and not banned from the federation’s activities.

“I am still under suspension and our association, Mafeteng Athletics, will represent us at the AGM,” said Mokonyana. He further said: “And we do hope that (Mafeteng Athletics representatives) will raise important points.”Mokonyana is also convinced that Saturday’s conference will be the most crucial one in the history of athletics in the country.“This upcoming AGM is our last hope. It has all the powers to reject the ungodly decisions by the executive committee and to reinstate me.”Former FAL president, Makhaola Serake, on the other hand, said the main issue to be thrashed out during the congress should be lack of athletics activities since the new administration took over.

“I think the fact that there has not been any athletics championships, competitions or athletics activities should be the main agenda of the AGM,” said Serake. “Talking about activities, I don’t mean only running activities, but coaching workshops, coaching clinics, officiating workshops, officiating clinics, among others.”Serake said another concern which needed to be addressed at the conference is communication between members and the executive committee.“Another issue which we would like to discuss is communication in general, between the mother-body and district associations members.”

Serake’s interest will also be on the reports about the suspension and expulsion of Ntai and Mokonyana respectively.“Maybe the reports will specify why those things happened because, like I said, this is the most crucial conference within the athletics fraternity in the country,” he said.Athletics guru, Mokete ‘Chaplin’ Mpomane, also believes that the FAL’s new administration has failed to deliver.“It is going to be difficult for the new FAL administration to account because there were no activities. They had a calendar of events but not even a single activity was held, and those are things which need to be addressed.”

Mpomane, who is also a member of Berea Athletics, said the FAL leadership will also have to tell them why the conference was not held last year.“They have to tell us why the AGM was not held last year because an AGM is compulsory,” Mpomane said.Infighting has rocked the FAL for the past three years, with the federation failing to focus on local championships and preparing athletes for international competition as attention focused on power struggles and court cases between sports administrators.The factional fighting ended up with the banning and suspension of Mokonyana and Ntai, a pair considered highly influential amongst athletics administrators in the country.

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