Zifa gets behind 'Captain Fiasco'

HARARE - The Zifa chairpersons from all the 10 provinces yesterday endorsed the incumbent association’s president Philip Chiyangwa as their candidate for next year’s elections.

Zifa is expected to hold an elective annual general meeting before March 31 next year and the chairpersons vowed to vote for the under fire Harare businessman.

Chiyangwa is currently embroiled in a nasty mudslinging affair with former Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze, who is accusing the Zifa boss of buying his way into office during the 2015 elections.

Mashingaidze is also accusing Chiyangwa of maladministration and running down the local game.

In turn, Zifa has reported Mashingaidze and two other former employees — Benjamin Dehwa and Fabion Venganayi — to the police for allegedly siphoning over $700 000 from the association’s accounts.

The association claims that Mashingaidze was responsible for the ballooning Zifa debt which now stands at $7 million.

However, the influential Zifa councillors led by the 10 provincial chairpersons have leapt to Chiyangwa’s defence insisting that he is the only candidate they will vote for next year.

All the chairpersons — Gilbert Saika (Mashonaland Central), Dereck Matapure (Mashonaland West), David Mpuli (Mashonaland East), Austin Chishanga (Midlands), Nkosilathi Ncube (Matabeleland South), Dennis Tshuma (Matabeleland North), Nobioth Magiwzi  (Masvingo), Francis Ntuta (Bulawayo) and Kuziwa Nyabeza — while Harare chairperson sent a representative.

“We as Zifa provincial chairpersons have made resolutions that...Chiyangwa will stand as our candidate for the Zifa next elections in 2018 and we don’t expect any opposition,” Saika said.

“The second issue is that we are here to ask the president to call for an EGM as soon as possible to discuss the Zifa capture report.

“We want the president to bring sanity to our game of football so that we can attract sponsors again.

“We want to discuss the financial issues that have been circulating in the media that there was money which went missing. We want that EGM to have one agenda of financial issue. We want that EGM to be called as soon as possible before the AGM.”

The councillors defended their decision of backing just one candidate in the forthcoming election.

“Zimbabwe is a democratic country and we are exercising our democratic right by saying we don’t expect another candidate to contest,” Saika said.

“It’s only an expectation that there will be no other candidate and we are not saying people will not be allowed to contest.

“As provincial chairpersons we don’t do things on our own. There was previous consultation with the councillors and board members from where we come from and agreed that we will endorse the candidature of...Chiyangwa.” 

After the revocation of former Zifa president Cuthbert Dube’s tenure in 2015, Chiyangwa entered the race to be his successor and is on record saying that he would only run for one term.

The Zifa councillors, however, want him to have another go because he still has some “unfinished business”.  

“Yes, Chiyangwa might have said he wants to run for one term but circumstances do change,” Saika said.

“We felt for continuity’s sake there are some other things that he had started and it’s our belief that he cannot abandon the ship midway.

“There are some other projects that he had started and it’s better for him to continue than another person to come and start from the ground. If somebody is probably to come say after five years it will give him ample time to finish what he started.”

Although the Zifa audited accounts that are at the centre of the current storm involving Mashingaidze are from 2011, the councillors feel that it is the right time to pursue the matter since they had been previously occupied by getting rid of Dube.

“I have in my possession audited reports from 2011 and quite honestly these statements were not presented to the Zifa council in this form that they are back then,” Chishanga said.

“We have just realised that there is a lot that needs to be discussed. There is a lot of money that went missing at Zifa and we want to discuss this at council level and this is why we are calling for the EGM.”

Saika added: “The euphoria to get rid of Dube also impacted heavily on most of us overlooking this. People were heavily seized with wanting to get rid of Dube but now we are saying let’s trace back and see what really transpired.”

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