Zifa elections get messy

HARARE - Unnamed candidates running for the vacant Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) board positions have received threats not to participate in the December 5 polls according to Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane.

Campaigning for the vacant posts is now in full swing after the Zifa Electoral Committee last week completed vetting all the aspiring candidates to ascertain whether they were fit to run in the elections.

Four candidates; Leslie Gwindi, Philip Chiyangwa, James Takavada and Trevor Carelse-Juul will be running for the top post of Zifa president after their nominations sailed through.

Omega Sibanda and Lincoln Mutasa will be battling for the post of vice president after Elkana Dube withdrew his candidacy despite being cleared by the electoral committee.

There are four positions on the board that will be up for grabs and they will be competed for by Wilfred Mukuna, Edzai Kasinauyo, Musa Mandaza, Piraishe Mabhena, Felton Kamambo, Beadle Gwasira, Joseph Musariri, Jackson Munyaka, Lewis Uriri and Philemon Machana.

Although Hlongwane did not give the details or identities of the threatened candidates, he said his ministry was concerned with these allegations.

“We have received with dismay news of threats against certain candidates who are participating in the Zifa board elections slated for the 5th of December 2015. In light of the news, Government would like to reiterate the following. The dissolution of the Zifa Board on the 3rd of October 2015 has given the football community an opportunity for a new lease of life under a new dispensation. This opportunity must not be squandered.

“All those interested in partaking in the Zifa Board elections must be enabled to do so under the same electoral atmospherics. Any threats against any candidates who have been cleared by Zifa to stand in the election by anyone, be they participants in the election or not, will not be tolerated and condoned.

“The transitional Zifa organisation has a duty of making sure that it delivers to the football community and to Zimbabwe at large, a credible election process that has the buy in of the football community and the millions of football-loving Zimbabweans.”

Hlongwane, who was appointed in September to take over from Andrew Langa, has suggested that all the Zifa presidential aspirants should be subjected to live public debates on television and radio to articulate their election manifestos.

“The ministry of Sport and Recreation suggests that all Zifa presidential candidates be subjected to a public debate, live on radio and/or television, to afford them a chance to articulate themselves on their manifestos. This will also assist the candidates to tolerate one another and to differ with dignity,” he said.

“Government’s intention is to remain as neutral as possible throughout this election process but a line in sand will be drawn if unorthodox means and ways are used to disadvantage ANY candidate at the expense of others.”

The Zifa elections have already faced a number of huddles since nominations closed on November 5.

Juul threatened to take Zifa to court if the electoral committee had rejected his bid before he was eventually cleared.

Chiyangwa’s election agent Eddie Chirova has also claimed that they are approaching the Zifa Appeals Committee because they feel Juul should not stand on December 5.

Former sports journalist Hope Chizuzu, who intended to run in the elections, has also called for the elections to be stopped claiming the Zifa Electoral Committee is not properly constituted.

Chizuzu last week wrote to Zifa expressing his concerns and has threatened to approach the High Court if the elections are not halted.

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