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How we messed up the Games



I write this knowing that there are people who are going to cry foul. I will stick to the facts to predicate my submission. Lesotho knew as long as six years ago that in December 2020 it would host the AUSC Region 5 Games. Immediately after the Botswana Games, we in the sporting fraternity embarked on pre-emptive arrangements in respect of the games to be hosted in Lesotho. In 2017, Lesotho held a national election and the outcome resulted in a coalition government consisting of the ABC, AD, BNP and the RCL. The sports ministry was then allocated to the AD and Honorable Mr Kabelo Mafora MP was designated the Minister of Gender and Youth, Sport and Recreation. His tenure was cut short by an untimely death paving the way for Dr Mahali Phamotse to ascend to the position of Minister of Gender and Youth, Sport and Recreation. As soon as she ascended to the role, Hon Phamotse MP embarked on a very fateful exercise of excluding all astute sports administrators from the Local Organizing Committee of the 2020 AUSC Games and found it prudent to only appoint party activists and cadres. The LOC got to be staffed with mostly people who had never organised elite international sport events except some recreational village relays best known as ‘lesokoana.’ The reasons advanced then were that the AUSC Games were Government Games and as such governments were political in nature therefore the appointment of party activists. The sports fraternity were left with egg on their faces as they had such great expectations from a youthful Minister who seemingly had sport close to her heart as she had played sport herself during her tertiary days. The Dr Phamotse tenure was characterised by expressions of humungous figures, I mean billions of maloti which were to be injected into the construction of facilities to host the Games. By now every Mosotho adult knows that, with government it is all about shoddy tender deals and this tenure was not immune to this. There was this pseudo promise of a project akin to milk and honey for the connected. Quickly, there was a sequel of sod turning here and there, cadres were being paraded as having the most unique skills to assist in siphoning the national purse masquerading as tenderpreneurs. It would not take a rocket scientist to know that the ABC would not hear anything about the games without them being involved. The current Premier was then the Minister of Finance. He took the Sports Minister from pillar to post with promises of guarantees on the loan that was being mulled, but it never happened. Fast forward 2020, Government changed hands in the famous kotopo farce brokered by sbali sa CR17 of Mzanzi. A new partnership emerged and it was now the turn for the ABC-DC marriage. If one knows the size of the Manhattan Freeway, then one understands how close or far apart the two party’s ideology is. But as they say, there is no honor among…you say it not me. As soon as new government was bestowed then the AD cadres bit the dust reminding me of the late Tšepo Tshola’s song ‘Bakubeletsa’ for indeed ba ile ba kubeletsa into obscurity and they could no longer enjoy the milk and honey, well they have the suits to show. My aching heart pours out to them kannete. A new LOC got installed and this was welcomed by some frustrating court case which was ruled in favour of those who had bided the games goodbye. An appeal was arranged and the outcome remained the same. This outcome meant that cadre deployment would only become a pipedream. A new budget was hastily drafted and once again an enticing figure was brandished, 256 Meter bafwethu. Knowing how politicians are, as they bragged about the figures I went to the kitchen to brew a very strong cup of coffee and handed it over to majita and asked them to smell it before drinking so that they would wake up to reality. They thought I was crazy and jealous. I mean I have been in sport for over two decades, I know what kind of figures are possible in this Kingdom. Well I let them go their way and soon I went running after them to give them more coffee but they shunned it. Why would I keep throwing my favorite coffee to these fellows? It was because I had seen that these fellows did not want to understand the characteristics of coalition governments. They are constructed on an extremely high degree of dishonesty among the partners. They spend most of the time curing their fears than governing. The eye is forever on the keyhole of the kitty waiting for the perfect opportunity to pounce on the goodies inside the kitty once the door goes ajar. Now with this in mind, why would a senior partner in the coalition present such a present on a silver platter to the junior party? Why? That would not happen considering that next year the country is going to the polls and with the mula being spread so graciously, this would present an opportunity for the junior partner to raise the much needed funds to eclipse the senior partner in the year to come. So again the sporting fraternity’s dream of having quality sport facilities went up in smoke, in Sesotho we could have said tsa nyamela joaloka motoho oa ngoana’ ’Malehloa. The lesson we in the sports fraternity have learnt is that organising the village lesokoana is a far cry from organizing elite international sporting events. Sport administration and event management requires people with sagacity and not those wet behind the ears. Let the Games begin. Mokhosi Mohapi

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