On Tuesday this week, sports minister Agnes Tjongarero announced the immediate dissolution of the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) board of commissioners, who the minister said were disregarding her directives, advice and recommendations on various governance issues.
The disbanding of the NSC board originally stems from the endless back and forth between the minister and board over the employment contract of outgoing NSC chief administrator Freddy Mwiya, whose contract ends this month.
Mwiya, who is gunning for another five-year term as head of the NSC, was recommended for reappointment by the board to the minister, but Tjongarero shot down the recommendation and advised that the position be advertised for all capable Namibians to apply.
Tjongarero said if Mwiya wished to continue as head of the NSC, he should join the queue and apply for the position along with other Namibians once it is publicly advertised.
But the board has not taken kindly to the minister’s advice, and insisted that Tjongarero reappoints Mwiya for another term as recommended by them.
The NSC board’s powers are only limited to recommending names of potential candidates for the NSC top job, while the minister is the only one empowered by law to either approve or disapprove such recommended names. The headlock between Tjongarero and the board left the minister with no option but to crack the whip, which led to her decision to disband the NSC board with immediate effect.
Away from the bickering between the NSC board and the minister, I must also confess that the general behaviour of the NSC was also becoming worrisome at times. We must admit!
For instance, just look at the way in which the NSC was embarrassingly exposed during the Namibia Premier League vs Namibia Football Association saga, which led to the eventual formation of the National Appeals Committee by the minister, because the NSC had a vested interest in the outcome of the matter and was therefore no longer fit to mediate.
Just look at the way the NSC handled the infightings that engulfed the Namibia Gymnastics Federation (NGF). The situation was handled in such a manner that the local gymnastics fraternity was left more divided than before. Even with media relations at times, the last couple of months saw the NSC leadership developing a very uninspiring attitude of being sensitive or allergic to criticism when things were not going right.
Whenever the media pinpointed certain shortcomings from the side of the NSC, either an event that was poorly organised or the ill-treatment of athletes, that particular journalist or media outlet would then be declared a persona non grata by the NSC’s leadership.
Even with yours truly; my uncompromising and razor-sharp style of journalism has at numerous points in time led to very uncomfortable relations with the NSC leadership, to an extend where it became terrifying for the NSC to invite me or other like-minded journalists to cover their events.
To save themselves from embarrassment and to keep unyielding journalists at arm’s length, the NSC rather opted to invite greenhorn reporters with little to no experience in identifying pertinent issues on the ground and pursuing them head-on without being compromised.
So, change at the NSC was bound to happen at one point and without making any comment on the Mwiya contractual situation, which by the way has nothing to do with me, I wholeheartedly support Tjongarero’s efforts in trying to revamp the fortunes of the commission.
It’s time for the NSC to go back to its original mandate of being a regulatory body for local sports and a watchdog of athletes’ rights and welfare.
Until next time, sharp sharp!!