In a few hours, the leaders and delegates of the African Chess Federations will stand and be counted, as they cast their votes towards the election of the candidate to become the African Chess Confederation President.
Over the past few months, Africa Chess has taken some bold steps in standing out from the norm and have chosen to build the future for themselves, rather than wait on Fide for virtually everything. A lot has happened, a lot has changed, and as a chess lover, I can only hope that whoever wins the upcoming elections will do what is best for chess in Africa, under the watchful eyes of every single chess player, administrator, arbiter, organizer, sponsor and every single individual in the African Chess Industry. But that team has to be elected first.
The tantrums, name calling, anger, mud throwing and the likes, come to an end today, as the delegates representing their various countries take the stand and cast their votes in favor (hopefully) of the great future that lay in stock for chess in Africa, as they elect the Africa Chess Confederation president for the Africans.
Let us meet the three (3) candidates again – Mr Lewis Ncube, Dr Essoh Essis and Mr Tshepo Sitale:
Mr Lewis Ncube:
He took up the mantle of leadership in the year 2014 and has led the continent since then. Going through the record books, promises were made that he was unable to keep, and according to his team, this was largely due to the Fide politics, which trickled down to the continent, because the body depended solely on the resources from Fide, for the running of the continental arm of the world body.
The Secretary General of the confederation during his tenure resigned a few weeks before being called up to help bring Fide to justice (against the Makropoulos team that had seemingly perpetrated injustice against Africa over the past few years), because he, as the then general secretary, did his best to bring repute to the confederation, and has publicly mentioned that Mr Lewis should have stepped down since most of the federations were calling for his head.
The Treasurer refused to run again, because he believes he has done his part in helping the game that he loves, thus far, and would rather step down, when most of the African members are asking for the accountability, which he could not provide as a result of the way the man at the helm was handling financial matters.
Dr Essoh Essis:
With a history of development in Cote D’Ivoire, and the first ever major Rapid and Blitz event on the continent, which took the Grand Chess Tour format, and boasted of ten (10) Nationals, who are top cadre players in their various countries, and his top management skills shown in his dealings with the United Nations, Dr Essoh Essis brings integrity, man management and team building into the race, as he bills to change the way the continent is being run.
A couple of months ago, however, Mr Mario Kpan came up with several allegations against Dr Essis, which was educatively dispelled and even though there are currently two (2) federations in Cote D’Ivoire, Fide only recognizes one (1), and can only recognize one (1), which is FIDEC, being led by Dr Essis.
At the beginning of his campaign, Dr Essis stood as an independent candidate, while Mr Lewis was the Kirsan candidate (before he stepped down for Mr Dvorkovich) and Mr Tshepo Sitale was and still is the supporter of Mr Makropoulos. But after getting to Batumi, Georgia, the Olympiad venue, and Dr Essis met with both Mr Makropoulos and Mr Arkady Dvorkovich, he understood the fact that the best candidate to lead FIDE to the next phase of our existence and development is Mr Dvorkovich (as paraphrased from his letter to the African delegates).
Mr Tshepo Sitale:
Mr Tshepo has grown from the ranks in Botswana and has shown ability in leadership, teamwork, administrative capabilities and saying things as he sees them. He led the Botswana Chess Federation with structures and statutes, while ensuring that things work for the development of the chess in the country, which helped him to be drafted into the Botswana Olympic committee.
A few months ago, however, the list of arbiters that were to represent Africa at this Olympiad was released, and while the continent was given only twenty (20) slots, five (5) of those slots went to two (2) countries. After careful digging and questioning by the former African Chess Confederation General Secretary, Mr Noel Fumey, he mentioned that three (3) individuals were in charge of this nomination cum selection, and even though Mr Patrick Van Hoodlant and Dr Hesham Elgendy acceded to their roles in the list (according to Mr Noel), Mr Tshepo refused to accede (being the third individual Mr Noel mentioned was involved in the list), stating the fact that he could not have selected arbiters and that the selection of arbiters should have been done by the current Africa Chess Confederations arbiters commission, of which there is none created as we speak.
It came to my attention yesterday, that Mr Tshepo was also an instrumental figure in 2014, as regards the drive towards changing irregularities of the development funds to Africa and how it was being disbursed, while being on the FIDE Development Board.
Various things have come to light in the space of a few months, and my sincere hope and believe is that at the end of this continental election, Africa can stand as one (1) single entity, develop as 1, grow together, help each other and build together, as we take chess on the African continent to the next level of partnerships, sponsorship, trainings and more Grandmasters!
Chess is a Life Changing Tool! Let us use it to change lives from the grassroots to the Grandmasters.
Now the question:
If you had a voting right, who would you vote for?