Who Is Running Athletics, the NSC or the AN?

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By Kuvee Kangueehi WINDHOEK It appears now that nobody knows exactly what is happening in athletics. Everybody, including the Minister, appears to be swimming in a pool of facts, lies, accusations and counter-accusations. Who is running athletics? Is it the Namibia Sports Commission or Athletics Namibia? Is the Congress to elect the new leaders going to take place in Otjiwarongo next month or will it take place next year in March? These remain pertinent questions seeking for answers. The only true fact that everybody seems to agree upon is that there is real chaos one of Namibia’s biggest sporting codes. Even a round table-meeting convened by the Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, John Mutorwa, which included all stakeholders and blessed by the presence of IAAF Africa Area Group Representative, Leonard Chuene, in the sport, in the end produced more questions than answers. The better part of the meeting was characterized by accusations and counter-accusations, and at one point it was Chuene versus the government officials, including the minister. Chuene, who hails from South Africa, from the onset informed the meeting that he was not going be given solutions but was in the country to seek for solutions. “What is the purpose of me being in this meeting if government already has a position on the matter?” He said he believes he is a role-player and would not be taking solutions from anyone. The comments by Chuene did not go down well with the Director of Sports, Vetumbuavi Veii, who accused the IAAF official of taking a decision. Veii said he expected Chuene to be a facilitator in trying to find a solution to the matter. However, Chuene hit back and said he has been treated in a disrespectful manner by some leaders in the athletics fraternity. He informed the meeting that even soon after his arrival he was informed that he was not welcome in the country, and some leaders refused to speak to him. He further noted that even some sports leaders refused to meet with him and called Europe questioning his credentials. Chuene further explained that the IAAF only recognizes one structure in the country which is Athletics Namibia (AN), and he thus made contact with the AN President, Alpha Kangueehi, when he arrived. “I am not supporting Kangueehi, but I am here to listen to all parties. Do not affiliate me with anybody and I will not be intimidated by anybody”. The Chairperson of the meeting, Mutorwa, said he has on numerous occasions highlighted the challenges and problems, and continuously brought them under the direct attention of AN’s leadership. “Documentary proof and evidence are abundantly available on file”. The minister gave the whole file of the evidence to the IAAF through Chuene and said: “It is for further information, appropriate advice, professional handling, records and future reference.” He finally called upon the government, IAAF, AN and individual athletes to continue working seriously together within the letter and spirit of all relevant constitutions and policies to resolve the leaders’ challenges before the end of the year 2006. “With goodwill and selflessness, from all, especially from the leaders and members of the AN family, it is very possible to do so”.