The Lesotho Taekwondo Association(LTA) elections set for last week Saturday were called off at the eleventh hour following a call by the Lesotho National Olympic Committee (LNOC), who were supposed to play host for the polling event.
According to the LTA Public Relations Officer S’khokhe Molikoe, the association received the news of an unavailable venue on Friday night through their president.
Molikoe said president Nthati Theko only found out late on Friday that the elections had been called off.
Theko said she was told the elections could not proceed because the venue which is the LNOC board room was no longer available.
“So far all I can say is that the elections were called off but the reasons are not clear enough. We were supposed to hold the elections on Saturday but on Friday while final logistics were being made, the president was told by the LNOC staff that the boardroom was not available,” Molikoe said.
“No formal communication was made about this because it had to be the chief executive officer of LNOC who writes to the president of LTA to communicate such but it was not the case as this was done through a telephone by a member of staff for LNOC.
“The truth is we could have gone ahead with the elections but that’s their venue and they are one of the sports mother bodies so should we have gone ahead, chances are our new executive committee would not be recognized,” Theko said.
Aside from the unavailability of the venue, there was also the issue of a letter written by the former LTA president Moshoeshoe Molapo who is also the spokesperson of the LNOC, where he raised concern with both the LNOC and the Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission(LSRC), about fact that the LTA had defied the procedure in calling for elections.
He accused the LTA of not inviting some of the clubs to the AGM. This then set rumour-mongers into overdrive as they began speculating that he could have had a hand in the abortion of the polling process out of bitterness, as his was among the clubs barred from the invitation.
In the letter he accused LTA of deliberately targeting them.
“Having made an inquiry about this from some of the member clubs, I realized that none of the clubs that previously accused the LTA executive committee of malpractice had received invitations. I think this has been done deliberately with the aim of preventing the participation of some clubs,” Molapo said in the letter.
In response to the issue of the letter and suspicions that it could have had a bearing in the polls cancellation, Theko brushed off the aversion as a possibility, since, as she said, she had already responded to the letter.
“On Wednesday I received the letter of complaint from one of our members (Moshoeshoe Molapo) and I immediately moved to respond to it. Until today as we speak I have not heard anything from the complainant or the mother bodies. Because of the silence I believed they were all satisfied so it was quite surprising that our AGM got cancelled on Friday,” she said.
Meanwhile, contacted for a comment on the matter, Molapo cast aspersions on the possibilities of his not being involved in the cancellation, saying that the executive committee could not call the AGM with no agenda.
“About three other clubs had filed complaints and different complaints for that matter. The executive of LTA did not follow the constitution,” Molapo said.
“For instance, the AGM cannot be called without an agenda, also the LTA notice was missing a few other things, they had not shared the Secretary General and treasurer’s reports as per the provisions of the constitution” he said.
However, Molapo went on to distance himself from claims that he could have had a hand in the cancellation, saying that he has no jurisdiction to do so.
“I do not even know why the AGM was called off because we did not ask the mother bodies to cancel AGM. What we, the concerned clubs requested was their intervention on ensuring that we have free and fair elections,” he said.
He further accused the current committee of being a fraudulent one saying even the resigned president did so due to the rampant corruption that included forgery and non-compliance.
Former LTA president, Moorosane Nkesi and the Vice President-Finance, Molupe Molupe both quit, early last year.
Nkesi had told this publication at the time that he stepped down as president “because of a lot of corruption in the administration of the sport which has for many years been clean and respectable in the country”.
Molapo said it was not right for the LTA to single him and his Khubetsoana Taekwondo club out of many clubs which have also complained to the mother bodies.
“They (LTA committee) are just trying to make this personal for reasons known to them only,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the LNOC Head of Programmmes Polumo Nchakha also distanced his organization’s involvement in the cancellation.
“All we did was ask the executive committee of the LTA how they were planning to proceed to AGM and elections as far as the Covid-19 regulations are concerned, as well as ask for the judgment of the courts in the recent case,” Nchakha said.
The LTA’s first attempt to host the elective AGM was interrupted by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in February 2020. They also failed again in July 2020 after the advice of the LSRC still due to Covid-19.
Another attempt was in November but that was also unsuccessful as some of the Taekwondo clubs filed an urgent High Court application seeking an order on November 27, 2020 to stop the LTA from holding the AGM. The clubs also wanted the court to stop the LTA from inviting to the AGM some clubs that are alleged to be non-members to LTA. Molapo was the first applicant while Khubetsoana Taekwondo club, Mashali Phasumane and Kabelo Mokhotho of the Maseru Day Taekwondo club, were cited as second to fourth applicants respectively.
The court later ruled in favour of the applicants and ordered the LTA to re-compile the list of clubs to participate in the elective AGM excluding the said non-member clubs who were considered to have never paid LTA membership fees.