Spotlight now on Zifa councillors

HARARE - Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) councillors have been urged to put the game first ahead of selfish interests as they approach this month’s crucial Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Zifa failed to hold an AGM last year which was supposed to have put in place an electoral committee to oversee polls this year.

As it now stands, the local football mother body is headed for a constitutional crisis since the mandate of the current executive led by Philip Chiyangwa comes to an end on March 29 this year.

Chiyangwa and his executive were voted into office in December 2015 to finish the term of office of the previous board led by Cuthbert Dube.

Zifa’s failure to hold the 2017 AGM has now put the entire electoral process in jeopardy since the term of office of some of the councillors in the Area Zones, Nash, Naph and regions expired.

Chiyangwa’s executive insists they have a mandate to continue past the March 29 deadline and hold elections later this year but a grouping of stakeholders has a different view.

“There is need to have clubs write a petition to the Sports and Recreation Commission for the executive committee to do the following by the weekend: handover books of accounts to the office administrator, handover all assets in their possession to the same administrator, stop transacting any business in the name of Zifa, allow for the office administrator to work with the clubs in preparing for the new season,” reads the petition by the stakeholders.

“In terms of basic interim tariffs since no AGM has been held . . . allow the administrator and clubs to prepare for elective AGM for 2018 in line with the main Zifa constitution and electoral code.

“The executive committee must hand in the activity reports and accounts for 2017 to the administrator.

“In the absence of the above aforementioned; the clubs must obtain a spoliation order instructing the executive to stop operating as the management committee and that the administrator obtains all that was mentioned in the petition.”

Harare City FC official Hope Chizuzu, who has in recent weeks had several run-ins with the Chiyangwa executive, wants the Zifa councillors to do the honourable thing and ensure elections are held before March 29. 

For his troubles, Chizuzu has been banned by Zifa from all football activities for allegedly soliciting a $5 000 bribe from Chiyangwa in October 2015.

“Yes, Zifa councillors, you are our football parliamentarians, 58 of you, according to our constitution.

“But we have a small matter of the AGM, which you couldn’t hold the whole of was a violation of article 26.

“Somebody slept on duty and by such omission every one of you is guilty of dereliction of duty,” Chizuzu said in an open letter to the Zifa assembly.

“The AGM is such an important item on your calendar, more so this one in which an election roadmap was a matter of life and death.

“Everyone knew, including SRC, the custodian of your statutes, that the term of office is ending and therefore everyone needs to subject themselves to fresh elections.

“I don’t want to speculate reasons for failing to call for the AGM but it created the illegitimacy that we now have for Area Zones, Provinces, Naph, Nash and Tertiary with regions, PSL and executive committee following in February and March.

“But what is clear is that come end of March, no one of you has legitimacy to represent Zimbabwe football.

“That revelation saw Zifa CEO Joseph Mamutse being forced to write to Fifa last Friday to help Zifa out of that hole caused by your ignorance of statutes.

“Fifa are in possession of the letter and were yesterday preparing for a response which is simply asking you to respect and follow your constitution.”

Chizuzu added: “Actually, SRC are keenly waiting for such information as they are aware that the term of office for Zifa is up and the constitution has no provision for an extension. Remember, your constitution is registered by SRC first before it can be operational.

“I know you’re in a quandary as to what to do after finding yourself in a self-inflicted net of difficulty, but constitutionally you can draw on safety nets available.

“Play your part to save our football from this not be threatened, your power is not in the banking halls, but in the constitution.”

Last week, ex-Zifa accountant Fabion Banganayi wrote to Sports minister Kazembe Kazembe and the SRC threatening to go to court if the association fails to hold elections by March 29.

“Zifa for reasons that I am not clear about, has not carried out their functions in fixing a date for the elections, even as the expiry of congress looms dangerously close. Their inaction will lead to a state where Zifa may, in fact, run unconstitutionally,” Vanganayi wrote.

“The misleading signals that have been sent by some members of the Zifa executive committee namely...Omega Sibanda and... Philemon Machana, have been the cause for great concern and may be an indication that come March 29 an elective congress will not have been called and Zifa will be hobbling along illegally, without a congress.

“No interpretation whatsoever of the constitution could ever validate the existence of a situation of the executive committee without the congress.

“Such an unprecedented situation would be a crippling negation of a fundamental tenet of our democracy which is a sine qua non (necessary condition) of our constitutional order.”

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