After preliminary injunction was placed on its elections and was finally lifted, officials of the Liberia Basketball Federation chose to go it alone in their own way, an official told the Daily Observer yesterday.
They did not inform contesting candidates and other observers, including the Liberia National Olympic Committee, about what they were planning to do, but held their elections on October 24, 2015.
Though the controversy surrounding the elections was not resolved, officials at the Ministry of Youth & Sports chose to remain unconcerned and even if they showed any interest, they kept it to themselves, an aggrieved official said. The elections resulted in the re-election of the then embattled president Rufus Anderson, whose opponents did not want him to contest because of accusations of financial improprieties.
Now, the Executive Committee of the Liberia National Olympic Committee, LNOC, described as the ‘mother of all sports’ is speaking out, and has described the October 24 elections as not transparent, not free and not fair and therefore does not recognize it.
The LNOC, in a release dated March 2, 2016, and addressed to Mr. Rufus Anderson, president of the LBF, requested, among other things, wanted to know the rationale the LNOC was left out and while information about the elections was not circulated to all those concerned.
“Why was the LNOC not informed about the General Assembly/Congress and elections on the 23rd of October 2015, so as to enable its representative attend…thereby allowing the LNOC to serve as an observer and thereafter makes an informed decision as to the credibility of the process?”
The LNOC’s letter, signed by its president Philibert S. Browne, wondered why the LBA leadership rushed to hold elections right after the preliminary injunction was lifted without informing other members of the association?
The LNOC said, “In the opinion of the Executive Committee…the supposed elections held on Saturday, October 24, 2015 were not transparent, free and fair, and such process was discriminatory, therefore denying other members from expressing their legal rights.”
The LNOC said with such faulty process, it cannot recognize the elections and therefore recommends that the LBF must hold new elections within three months from March 2, and must ensure that at that process all stakeholders are allowed to participate and it will be observed by the LNOC.
Officials at the Ministry of Youth & Sports could not take a position on the issue and LBF officials contacted yesterday were not prepared to comment, though they admitted receiving the letter from the LNOC.
With the current position by the LNOC, many who have opposed Anderson’s leadership hoped the Ministry of Youth & Sports will not close its eyes to the errors unearthed by the LNOC, and must ensure that credible and transparent administration is put in place to help promote basketball.
If Rufus Anderson refuses to agree to the LNOC recommendation, it might strain relations, said an official of the LNOC, “and Anderson may not be able to get support from the LNOC.”