‘Vote rigging’ at LNOC elections

‘Vote rigging’ at LNOC elections

Maseru – The Lesotho National Olympic Committee elections have been thrown into disrepute with allegations of foul play and illegal voting.
The elections were held on February 26 and saw the entire LNOC committee re-elected.
However, not everyone is happy with the results.

Several associations have raised their concerns over how the elections were conducted and they say there was foul play.
They claim some of the elected committee members were not nominated by their national federations to stand for positions on the LNOC board.
Amongst the disgruntled federations is the Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA) which has had a strained relationship with the LNOC for some time.
The LAAA has come out guns blazing and criticised the results of the polls.

LAAA public relations officer Sejanamane Maphathe said he was nominated by his association to stand for the elections but withdrew after he saw LNOC committee members “ambush” the LNOC’s annual general meeting which preceded the election process.
“I withdrew the minute I saw abnormalities in the election process and not having a representative within the LNOC affects us a lot as an association and also the athletes when they go to competitions,” Mapathe said.

“It means LNOC (committee) selected itself,” he added.
“We saw the members of the executive board helping in the voting process. They have no right to tamper with the voting process (but) they forcefully ambushed the AGM to give them the authority to do so.”

Maphathe said the LAAA are not going to take the election results lying down and will do all they can to bring down the newly-elected LNOC committee.
Another association that is fuming is the Lesotho Boxing Association (LeBA). LeBA public relations officer Pheello Sofe said none of boxing’s members were elected to the LNOC committee as they hoped.

Sofe pointed out that most other associations had representatives on the LNOC board but the outcome of the elections did not work in LeBA’s favour.
“I sometimes arrange fights for these boxers and use my car to transport them without any help from the LNOC, at times I even take the money out of my pocket,” Sofe said.
“According to me, it would be acceptable and pleasing if we have someone in the committee board from the association (LeBA) to represent us. We appointed (LeBA president) Takatso Ramakhula as our representative so he could compete for the elections, but it was all to no avail,” he said.

Sofe said to ensure fairness, it would be better if LNOC committee members are given just one term of four years to avoid people being in office for a long time.
However, the LNOC chief executive officer Morake Raleaka brushed aside the complaints saying it is possible for the LNOC committee to have the same members as long as the voters are satisfied with their service delivery.

He said voters have the power to change the committee if they are not satisfied.
Raleaka went on to say whether the associations are happy or not, the LNOC board is not concerned; all that matters to them is the organisation’s constitution.
“They should have worked hard to have enough numbers so that they would make changes in the committee,” Raleaka said.

“Look at their committees internally, the way they are structured; they are at liberty to recycle committees because their membership have been elected. On the level of the associations it is right, but when it comes to the level of the committee (LNOC) and being outvoted, it’s wrong,” he said.

Raleaka said the LNOC is established on principles and they treat all federations equally regardless of whether they voted for them or not.
He urged those who are complaining to lick their wounds and accept defeat.

“We won’t be able to nurse people’s emotions who do not want to work with principles and want to do things according to how well it suits them,” Raleaka said.
“This is an institution, not a playground. They need to do things according to the correct way to do them,” he added.
“Obviously, when you have lost the elections you won’t be happy because the candidate you wanted to have been elected has lost.”

Mohloai Mpesi

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