The Botswana Amateur Fencing Society (BAFS) is currently in a state of crisis as two opposing forces are fighting for control of the fairly new association. The sport of fencing rose to prominence during the 2014 Africa Youth games held in Gaborone. Politics within the local fencing body threatens to reverse the gains and mileage the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) affiliate has made recently. The combat sport traces its roots to the development of swordsmanship with emphasis on duelling and self-defence. Fencing happens to be one of the oldest Olympic sports.
BAFS constitution provides that 50 percent of members may call a special general assembly, when the committee fails to heed to calls of affiliates. The affiliates convened a meeting on the 28 July and resolved to table a motion of no confidence on their executive committee. BG Sport is reliably informed that the both BNSC and the opposing forces have reached a point where they communicate through the lawyers. BG Sport is in possession of a letter from BNSC instructing both groups to, “desist from holding any further meetings meant for any elections of the purported new committee until an inquiry into the matter has been completed.” The letter from BNSC is dated 3rd August 2017. “Our clients are fully paid up bona fide members of the BAFS with full membership rights in terms of the constitution. It is worth noting that the deposed Executive Committee are members of the clubs that have defaulted in membership subscription payments and are therefore members of the BAFS in accordance with its constitution,” reads a letter from Ramalepa attorneys addressed to BNSC CEO dated 1st August 2017. The other force in the battle for BAFS is led by Mandela Masuku who recently defeated Mudongo at the BAFS elective general assembly. Masuku’s committee comprises vice president Matla Basha, Secretary General Letlhogonolo Ramosesane, technical director Samuel Chape,and Treasurer Koketso Masena. The Gaolatwe Mudongo group was recently voted into office after BAFS affiliate clubs decided to table a motion of no confidence on the then committee led by Masuku in absentia. Mudongo was BAFS president from 2014 to 2017 when little known Masuku staged mutiny at the assembly. The Mudongo led team comprises Themba Mgurunyoka as vice president, Tebogo Mokwena as treasurer, Special Ramatudung as Secretary General, Jimmy Lekhutlile as technical director, Master Tobedza, Tlhabologo Nageng and Warona Lekoko as additional members.
BNSC chairman Solly Reikeletseng said he is aware of the fencing battles. “We know their challenges and we have engaged legal advisor to interpret their constitution and our act”, explained BNSC chairman. Reikeletseng cautioned that the energy should be directed towards preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Reikeletseng said that they are democratically trying to engage the warring parties to settle their matters on their own. “What is happening at BAFS is unacceptable, they are a growing sport in the country, they do not have many or complicated development structures, they have fewer clubs, actually they are at an infancy stage. There is no need for leadership to fight”, cautioned Reikeletseng.