Sports

Power struggle over athletics body

Chris Theko

A turf war over the control of the athletics governing body the Federation of Athletics Lesotho (FAL) has ensued as the President Makhaola Serake and his Deputy Tšeliso Pheta each want to claim leadership of the sporting body.

On the one hand Serake feels he is still the man legally at the helm of FAL, while on the other hand, Pheta was elected president at a recent elective Annual General Meeting of October 31.

Serake says he is still the president since the 31 October elections were unconstitutional hence he will stay put until the federation holds a constitutional elective annual general meeting (AGM). 

“I am the president of the Athletics Federation of Lesotho and intend on occupying the office until such a time when I am removed in a constitutional manner,” Serake said. 

Speaking to this publication on the sidelines of the federation’s quarterly meeting that was held at the Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission (LSRC) offices in Maseru on Thursday 5th November 2020, Serake pointed to the holding of the meeting as ample prove of who is indeed at the helm of FAL. 

“The meeting was called by myself as the federation’s president,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Newsday sport has since learnt the very AGM which dethroned Serake and installed Pheta, was in fact held against a directive by the LSRC in a letter written to the FAL to not proceed with the elections.

The letter, seen by this paper reads in part;“The Elective Annual General Meeting (in particular that of 31 October 2020) must follow all due processes as stated in your constitution (As amended).  In line with the Arbitration Tribunal’s decision it has been clarified that all due process to call Elective Annual General Meeting did not comply with the Association’s constitution and therefore, the Elective Annual General Meeting of the 31 October will not be recognized,”

However, the FAL decided to hold elections against the directive by the sport mother body.

Serake said he did all he could to nip the plan in the bud but his efforts were fruitless.

“I even wrote a letter to the LSRC requesting their assistance to stop the AGM as it was unconstitutional,” he said. 

The LSRC which had then issued an order barring the holding of same, has indicated that they will put the federation under administration if it fails to resolve its own challenges.  This was confirmed by LSRC Public Relations Officer Teboho Rakhomo.

“Due to the ongoing power struggles that have come to our attention the Commission is planning to place the athletics federation under supervised administration,” Rakhomo said. 

He said the commission is always looking to protect the interests of the athletes hence the decision to intervene in the disputes of the federation.

“We realized that placing the federation under administration can be the best remedy to fix the disputes in the federation.  This we will do to protect the athletes so that their activities still continue,” he said. 

Meanwhile, for his part, Pheta told this paper that he was not threatened by the actions of the outgoing president indicating that he is the president and has already started working. 

“I am aware of the meeting that was on Thursday but we are not afraid.  Nothing will change even if the LSRC chooses a side.  Obviously that’s what will happen since he is part of the commission; keeping in mind that he is the current treasurer of the Commission,” Pheta said.

He added that they stand with how they handled things saying that is backed up by the constitution of the federation. Pheta said a resolution was made on whether to have elections this year or postpone and majority voted for the former.

“When we realized that this year we are supposed to have elections, we had to decide whether to postpone them or to have them under the regulations of covid-19, 20 representatives voted; 14 voted to host elections in October while six voted against so no one could stand in the way of democracy and the constitution,” he added.   

Newsday Sport has learnt that the feud has cascaded into the district committees since the Thursday meeting was attended by some six of the country’s 10 districts while the AGM itself was attended by only Leribe, Mokhotlong and Butha Buthe. 

The Thursday meeting concluded that the president would ask the secretary general Makara Thibinyane; his deputy, Letsema Moiloa; deputy president Tseliso Pheta and ordinary member ‘Mamokete Rampai to “show cause” why they defied the arbitration tribunal and the LSRC by going ahead with the AGM.  

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