Taekwondo tussle bound for world body
MASERU – Following its suspension from both the Lesotho Sports and Reaction Commission (LSRC) and the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNIC), the Lesotho Taekwondo Association (LTA) has threatened to take its fight to the World Taekwondo. The two local sport mother bodies on July 7 resolved to suspend the national taekwondo body until a new administration is in place following protracted internal wrangling.
This is according to LTA spokesperson, Sek’hok’he Molikoe, who told Public Eye that they only became aware of their suspension on August 5. Molikoe argues that their suspension is unfair and are, as a result, forced to seek intervention from World Taekwondo. “We feel this is unfair to us as the Lesotho Taekwondo Association (LTA),” said Molikoe.
Molikoe said in the beginning, Molapo and some of the clubs complained to LNOC that the LTA was delaying the elective conference. He said that was despite the fact that the LSRC stopped them from holding the elective conference, pointing out to set Covid-19 restrictions. “We evidenced that with a MEMO released by the LSRC’s CEO at the time and which suspended all sporting activities, including elections, all because of the Coronavirus. But even after the relaxation of the lockdown the LNOC still did not approve our request to hold an elective conference.”
Molikoe said his association has since appealed the suspension to both the LNOC and LSRC. “We have since written to them, asking them to review their decision and if there is no transparency we will have no other option but to involve World Taekwondo.” Molikoe further said: “We know administrative processes very well as an association. That’s why we had not involved international bodies in this issue all along but this time around we will do so because we want justice.”
This decision to cut off the LTA’s affiliation to the national federations follows several botched efforts by the association’s administrators to hold an elective conference – resulting in multiple court orders on which member clubs are eligible for participation in the conference. The LTA initially failed to convene the annual meeting as scheduled on March 2019, with Molikoe at the time citing Covid-19 pandemic restrictions imposed by government.
These prohibited public meetings and restricted movement, among others. This excuse was rejected by some members. With the LTA’s administrative issues getting murkier, this paper reported two months ago that the LTA faced suspension. LSRC spokesperson, Teboho Rakhomo, said then in an exclusive interview in June that they had on numerous occasions tried to intervene in the taekwondo fiasco, but to no avail.
He insinuated suspension of the association as the only logical route following the collapse of mediatory steps. However, Sek’hok’he told Public Eye last Saturday that the two mother bodies indicated in the letter of suspension that the LTA’s affiliation was being cut off because its leadership has a case in court. The case in question was lodged by Lithabaneng Taekwondo Club some four months ago, challenging its exclusion from participation in the elective conference of April this year.
A similar legal challenge had previously been lodged by the Lithabaneng, Khubetsoana and other taekwondo clubs – including former LTA President Moshoeshoe Molapo – on the same grounds. On the other hand, former LTA Vice President Technical Director, Mojapela ’Mefane, said they saw this coming. ’Mefane said he and Molapo tried in vain to advise the just-suspended LTA leadership to abide by the constitution of taekwondo from the beginning.
“We saw this coming, hence I and Molapo tried to advise the leadership of LTA to abide by the constitution from the beginning but they did not listen to us,” said ’Mefane. ’Mefane said the LTA leadership did not abide by the constitution since when it failed to hold an elective conference in March, 2019. “Taekwondo was supposed to go to an elective conference in March, 2019 and, according to the constitution, clubs were supposed to be notified by such annual general meeting before March 31 but that did not happen until March 29 when the strict national Covid-19 lockdown was announced.”
’Mefane, therefore, said court cases were the last resort for some of the LTA members. He said the first court case was lodged simply with the intention to seek interpretation of the taekwondo constitution. “For example, none of taekwondo clubs have paid membership fees since 2017 until now but when it’s about time to go to an elective conference the LTA leadership wanted to include new clubs despite having failed to prove that they are indeed members of the LTA.
“So our argument was that such clubs would rather be considered as members of taekwondo after an elective conference because clearly they are not, as we speak, and we said it would be fair if only the clubs who participated in the last LTA elections would be the ones to participate in the next taekwondo elections,” he added. ’Mefane further said according to the association’s constitution, resorting to the courts of law is not an offence.
This is despite the fact that the LNOC and LSRC used to discourage sports administrators and athletes from resorting to the courts of law. Molapo had before shared the same sentiments, accusing the LTA leadership of failure to follow the constitution. Molapo said, among others, the LTA administration wanted to leave out some of member clubs, who they thought were against its leadership, from participating in an elective conference.
The taekwondo fiasco saw its president, Moorosane Nkesi and vice president finance, Molupe Molupe, quitting. Nkesi told this paper that, among other reasons, he decided to step down because his committee had overstayed its term of office. This paper also learnt that Molupe cited the same reason for his resignation.