Ousted LSRC official speaks out

MASERU — Turbulence has been the name of the game for the Lesotho Sport and Recreation Commission (LSRC) over the past five months.
In October the Minister of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation ‘Mathabiso Lepono dismissed 15 LSRC commissioners following a petition from 20 of the LSRC’s 28 member associations citing violations of the commission’s constitution.
The 20 associations accused the commissioners of failing to facilitate the election of a new commission after the expiry of their tenure. In November a High Court ruling upheld the decision to dismiss the 15 LSRC commissioners to relinquish their position.
On Saturday 17 new commissioners were elected, including Lefa’s Baba Malaphane and Lesotho Olympic Committee’s Limpho Mokhochane. These new officers will meet next week to elect an executive committee from amongst themselves.  But the new commissioners still face a challenge. In December the commissioners lodged an appeal at the Court of Appeal of Lesotho.
The Court of Appeal only sits twice a year and we are hoping that when it sits in April it will look at our case,” one of the ousted commissioners Fako Hakane, who was the LSRC’s deputy-president, told the Lesotho Times.
The appeal has been seen by some as not being in the best interest of sport because it continues the conflict. But Hakane disagreed.
“I heard this question being asked before. We are not against anyone. If we had a problem with the game continuing then we would not have allowed the Sports Commission to continue,” he said.
“I wouldn’t think this would interfere with the work of the commission,” Hakane said. “All we want to do is to set the record straight and we want to help future committees. The important thing is that with future committees, there should be a proper handover. There are two factors that govern the sports commission – the Parliament Act from 2002 and the LSRC constitution,” Hakane said.
“Each commission serves for three years but after that period there is a three month grace period in order for there to be a proper handover and that is what the judge failed to recognise,” he continued.
The case in the Court of Appeal, if or when it takes place, hinges on the member associations’ petition, as it is what is being contested.
However apart from the controversy Hakane insisted the outgoing committee had improved sport in the country.
“I’d like to believe we did a good job. We wanted to professionalise sport in the country and we were able to come up with a strategic plan which we were going to work with,” Hakane said. “We were audited all the time, there were allegations (against us) that there was a misuse of funds but this was never proved,” he added.
Approached by this newspaper last week, LSRC’s Kholoang Mokalanyane said any financial reports would be available after the sports commission’s elections.

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