Power struggle cripple Scout Movement

Kemoreilwe Jimson
Friday, 22 January 2016
Power struggle cripple Scout Movement

Botswana Scouts Association (BSA) is mired in allegations of financial maladministration and office abuse, which have attracted the eye of the anti-corruption agency, DCEC.

“The problem at BSA is that there are people who want to use it as a stepping stone to venture into business. This is why we have never had any peace since our election in 2014,” said a source in the committee.

He added that people are fighting for the control of the association’s plot in Tsolamosese. Reached for comment, BSA Chief Commissioner, Morgan Letsholathebe declined to comment saying he is waiting for the investigation report by the Chief Scout, Jabulani Muchado. Since the troubles began at the association, Letsholathebe and his committee have written to Office of the President and Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture to intervene but have not received any response.

“As we are preparing to meet your office to intervene, please find attachments of narratives from Chief Scout and Chief Commissioner on their perception of the situation at the association. Some additional attachments have been provided to give more information on the current status,” states the letter written to Brigadier George Tlhalerwa, Senior Private Secretary to the President.  The letter dated 09 December 2015 further states; “We would like to meet the Patron of Botswana Scouts Association for a briefing on general issues pertaining to its welfare at the time most convenient to his tied (sic) schedule.”

In their report about the troubles at BSA, both Chief Commissioner and Chief Scout conceded the existence of a management crisis at BSA NEC.  In a report seen by BG News, Letsholathebe acknowledges: “Indicators of the problems currently faced by the Association were observed from the 2014 Annual Council meeting as it was election year. The elections were marred by bad campaign tactics characterised by character assassination on some strong competitors.

It appeared that some individuals made efforts to take the leadership, and when they realised they may lose critical positions, they reverted to winning majority control in the NEC,” writes Letsholathebe.
According to a reliable source, troubles at the association started when Letsholathebe suspended the Training Commissioner, Ezekiel Malenya for insubordination and failing to attend several meetings despite requests to do so.

Following this, some commissioners allegedly teamed up with the Training Commissioner arguing that Letsholathebe does not have the powers to suspend according to their constitution. The ten commissioners signed a letter of no confidence against Letsholathebe while others chose to report him for abuse of office and misappropriation of funds.

Last year December Principal Anti-corruption officer at the Ministry of Lands and Housing, Tshephang Mabaila was appointed as Chief Commissioner.

BG News is reliably informed that the anti-corruption agency, Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) was called in to investigate the association last year. Both the Chief Commissioner and Chief Scout did confirm in their report that the agency informed them about their investigations.

“I was approached by the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) saying my name was mentioned in their investigation of a case of misappropriation of funds and office abuse by Chief Commissioner that was reported by one of the NEC members,” writes Chief Scout, Dr Jabulani Muchado.

Letsholathebe also wrote, “Some allegations of abuse of office and misappropriation of funds have been reported to the country’s law enforcement investigation agencies for inquiry and no reports have been shared yet.”
Letsholathebe was early this week reluctant to comment on the management crisis at the society saying he is waiting to hear from the Chief Scout. Public Relations Officer at DCEC, Phakamile Kraai confirmed that they are investigating BSA.

“I can confirm the DCEC is investigating a case at the Botswana Scouts Association, but for now we can not reveal any more information as investigations are still underway,” said Kraai.
In a turn of events, the Public Relations Officer of the Scout Association Moilwa Tau Nong has written to Letsholathebe demanding that he leave the association. “As you are aware that The National Scout Council proceeded on the 21st of November 2015, which you did not attend nor pass any apology, it has passed and resolved on matters affecting you.”

He wrote that the National Scout Council passed a motion of no confidence on Letsholathebe in line with Article 9.8 Sub Section E of the constitution of Botswana Scouts Association. “The NSC elected Mr. Tshephang Mabaila as the new Chief Commissioner of Botswana Scouts Association with effect from 21st November 2015,” Mabaila wrote.

The letter was dated 11th January 2016. “Therefore you are requested to return any official documents, BSA property or anything belonging to the Botswana Scout Association within 14 days. You are also urged to stop acting as Chief Commissioner of neither BSA nor use any official documents as an office bearer, as it will be deemed as fraudulent,” reads the letter.

Reached for comment Letsholathebe could only say, “I cannot comment because I have not seen the contents of the letter. But last week someone called me at the office saying they want to deliver a letter for me. Even up to now I have not seen the letter.”

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