By John Tuerijama
FORMER director of sport, Dr Vetumbuavi Veii is competing to be re-elected as chairperson of the African Union Sports Council Region Five (AUSC Region5); which is the sports arm of the African Union.
The main aim of the AUSC is to use sports to achieve peace, integration and unity in Africa, particularly sport as a vehicle of encouraging people to develop and come together, irrespective of colour, economic status, political, class, or gender.
The AUSC divided Africa into seven competition zones due to the vastness of the continent and for financial prudence. Region 5 is made out of southern African countries, namely Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The AUSC Region5 Elective Executive Committee Meeting is scheduled to take place in Swakopmund next month where Veii will be hoping to gain the votes of the majority of the member countries.
Veii said he did not know whether there were other candidates vying for the position of chairperson: “For now I am the only one but chances of retaining the position are hard to say since I don’t know who else will be contesting for the position. At this point in time, there has not been any other country that has declared any interest for the position of chairman. They are probably keeping their cards close to their chests.”
On whether the AUSC Constitution permits him to stand for another term, Veii said he was allowed to serve for three three-year terms and that he has so far only served two of those three terms.
“As you know I took over the position of AUSC Region5 in an acting capacity of which thereafter I got elected to two three- year terms of office. The last year of the second three-year term is concluding this year,” Veii confirmed. He also confirmed that his contestation was approved by Sports Minister Jerry Ekandjo, as per AUSC constitution.
Speaking about the major challenges facing AUSC under his leadership, Veii said the biggest headache was funding.
“Finances are our biggest challenge. We wholly rely on subscription fees from member countries but most of the time countries fail to honour their obligations towards AUSC.”
Non-payment of dues prevents the AUSC secretariat at the head office in Gaborone, Botswana from functioning at full throttle as programmes cannot be implemented and staff cannot be remunerated.
As a rule, only fully paid up member countries are eligible to participate in the sports events but most countries still fail to pay up.
On a positive note, Veii said AUSC has approached several commercial entities to help in the commercialisation of the AUSC Games. He said commercialisation will result in the AUSC Region5 Games being broadcast live to member countries.
He said AUSC has also introduced leadership and coaching programmes to ensure that member countries select competitive athletes for the AUSC Region5 Games.
“The idea is to have our best athletes in the region do very well globally. In that regard, and thanks to generous sponsorship from Norway and the United Kingdom, we also have an agreement with the South African High Performance Centre in Pretoria where athletes can benefit from top level coaching by experts.”
Veii said other ideas being explored include the broadening of the Zone Six para-games which are at the moment held at a very small scale.
A number of technical meetings will precede the Executive Committee, and will focus attention on Sports for People with Disabilities, Women in Sport, Sports Development, as well as discuss the organisation’s finances.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015