By Carlos Kambaekwa
The Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture John Mutorwa has called on all national sport federations, inclusive of umbrella bodies, to properly articulate their short, medium and long-term objectives.
Mutorwa issued a strongly worded statement in which he takes aim at sports authorities for their apparent lack of transparency and public accountability, and accused sport associations of operating in vacuums only to wake up once confronted with the reality of preparing athletes for participation in events globally.
He made reference to the tortoise-paced preparations ahead of the forthcoming 2008 Beijing Olympics in China later this year, with a major chunk of associations and federations yet to submit their budgets with supporting demographics detailing their envisaged activities.
The soft-spoken and likeable long-service sport minister believes such practices could have serious repercussions as it could potentially create panic, confusion, finger pointing and above all, demoralize athletes before the competitions gets under way.
He urged sports bodies to submit programme activities through the National Sports Commission in line with the Government’s annual budget to the Directorate of Sport. “Allocation of money can and should be done and justified on the basis of programmes and activities to be undertaken or carried out, and not on the basis of speculation or idealism,” reads the statement.
Mutorwa called on national umbrella sport bodies and associations to refrain from putting the cart before the horse as they appear to have developed a habit of dribbling around the fundamentals, the minister saying the interest and personal commitment of athletes, trainers, managers and well-articulated training programmes are of paramount importance and should always precede the process of qualification and actual participation.
Furthermore, the minister pulled no punches as he cautioned against the commitment undertaken by some sports bodies for the bidding of hosting international events without prior consultation or seeking approval from the country’s sport authorities.
“From now on, transgressors will be dealt with in the most appropriate manner,” concluded the statement.
Sport bodies are also reminded to exercise transparency and openness when submitting their annual financial budgets to the National Sports Commission as per stipulations of Section 27 of the Namibia Sport Act of 2003, which calls for sport associations and umbrella bodies to make available public funds derived from sources other than Government.
Mutorwa said since Namibia’s independence in 1990, a significant number of national federations and associations such as soccer, rugby, cricket, boxing and many others have managed to qualify and indeed participated in international events and their achievements have certainly not gone unnoticed.