What you need to know:
- Mendouga acknowledged he spent the money for the launch of AFBC headquarters in Yaounde early this year, hoping to reimburse it from a grant of $500,000 (Sh75.7 million) pledged by Kremlev.
- This is one urgent issue Berhane will have to tackle alongside pending prize money for the winners of this year’s Africa Championships in Yaounde, Cameroon.
In Addis Ababa
After his fiery, wide-ranging press conference in Paris on Thursday, Russia’s International Boxing Association (IBA) President Umar Kremlev flew to Addis Ababa where he witnessed Ethiopian billionaire Eyassu Wossen Berhane elected the new Africa Boxing Confederation (AFBC) President.
Berhane won Saturday’s AFBC Presidential elections on a walkover after his two opponents, immediate former president from Cameroon Bertrand Mendouga and Morocco’s El Kabbouri Mohamed, for unknown reasons, failed to turn up at the Africa Union headquarters building conference hall in Addis Ababa.
This was the venue for the Extraordinary Congress and the elections attended by 43 delegates.
Two candidates – Nigeria’s interim President Azania Omo-Agege and Uganda Boxing Federation President Moses Muhangi - had earlier withdrawn in Berhane’s favour.
“I’m very happy to be the president of this important organisation, with teamwork we will succeed,” said an excited Berhane, who has inherited a divided house following a heated exchange of words among his Board of Directors, the highest decision-making organ of AFBC.
The heated exchange was ignited by DR Congo federation President Ferdinand Luyoyo who wants the board dissolved for “failing to deliver and dividing members.”
IBA President Kremlev said the issue will be sorted out at their congress in Dubai next month, but some delegates are opposed to Kremlev handling the issue outside Africa, saying it will even cause more disunity that could see several national federations decamping to the newly-formed World Boxing (WB) body.
“This is an issue we can sort out at a round table meeting if some of us put their egos aside and focus on the bigger picture,” said a board member who preferred anonymity for fear of victimisation.
Berhane said he will issue a comprehensive statement in the course of the week and that he has hit the ground running because he knows the problems facing the organisation, one of them being an empty bank account.
During his campaigns, he promised to empower the African body financially and the national federations.
“My aim is to turn AFBC into a multi-million-dollar organisation, I will bring in more money and not to take it away,” said Berhane, who runs a chain of businesses in Addis Ababa and in several foreign countries.
Berhane, who is Ethiopian Boxing Federation President, has taken over from Mendouga who was unceremoniously removed by the Board of Directors in August in Yaounde during the Africa Championships.
Among the reasons cited by the board for Mendouga’s ouster through a vote of no-confidence was his high-handedness, mismanagement and alleged financial impropriety.
They accused Mendouga of spending last year’s Africa Championships (Maputo) prize money which was due to boxers from Algeria, Mozambique and Zambia without their approval.
Mendouga acknowledged he spent the money for the launch of AFBC headquarters in Yaounde early this year, hoping to reimburse it from a grant of $500,000 (Sh75.7 million) pledged by Kremlev.
This is one urgent issue Berhane will have to tackle alongside pending prize money for the winners of this year’s Africa Championships in Yaounde, Cameroon.
Tomorrow: Position of the African federations in regard to Umar Kremlev’s International Boxing Association vis-à-vis the newly-formed World Boxing