I WAS PUSHED OUT – Solly Reikeletseng

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• His resignation was a tactical gambit
• He admits he owes Maun hotel
• He feels Minister Khama poked nose into his private matters

SONNY SERITE

Solomon Solly Reikeletseng has finally come out to admit he would have loved to finish off his term in office as the Chairperson of the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) had it not been for the pressure he got from his new principal, Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture Tshekedi Khama.
Reikeletseng resigned from his position at BNSC last week Thursday in what he at the time described as ‘‘a conscious decision arrived at because of the love I have for sports and I would not allow any of my personal and business arrangements to affect the work that has been done by fine men and women of this country for more than five decades.’’
In a candid interview with the Botswana Gazette Reikeletseng claims that the newly appointed Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture (MYSC) Tshekedi Khama reprimanded him in front of his Permanent Secretary Kago Ramokate, leaving him with no option but to tender his resignation from the position he has held for close to eight years. Reikeletseng said following accusations that he had failed to pay a P15.000 accommodation bill at Sedia Hotel in Maun, Ramokate phoned to inform him that the Minister wanted to see him. Reikeletseng said he had to cancel his scheduled meeting with the Police and his accuser (employee of Sedia hotel) so he could honour the minister’s meeting.
‘‘On arrival at the minister’s office, he took out his phone and showed me a Facebook screenshot of the Maun hotel accusations and said BDP members of parliament were not happy with me and they had expressed their unhappiness through a WhatsApp group made up of BDP members of parliament’’, the embattled former BNSC boss explained.
He said he tried to explain that the Maun incident had nothing to do with his position in the BNSC as it was a private matter outside the jurisdiction of the ministry and the BNSC but the minister would have none of it as he insisted Reikeletseng’s bad publicity was by extension bad for the reputation of the ministry. ‘‘The shocking thing about it all is that this was the first meeting I ever held with the minister since he was redeployed to MYSC and instead of discussing my vision and his expectations from BNSC, we were now discussing my private affairs’’, Reikeletseng said, further adding that he felt he was being taken through a kangaroo court where his defence was disregarded.
Reikeletseng’s second term in office was supposed to elapse in four months’ time but he said he opted to voluntarily step down after he got a tip off from authoritative sources that the Minister was planning to suspend him and eventually expel him from his position in the BNSC.
‘‘I have worked so hard for the betterment of the sporting fraternity in this country and volunteered my time and resources, all for the love of sport and my country and there was no way I was going to allow the minister to humiliate me with expulsion after working so hard to build my reputation, previously as a sport athlete and now as a sport administrator’’, he said. Minister Khama’s phone rang unanswered on Monday and he had not responded to messages sent to his WhatsApp number by the time of going for print.