Zifa election crisis

HARARE - Philip Chiyangwa and his executive are staring down the barrel following their failure to organise elections for the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) structures forcing the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) to step in to “restore order” .

Zifa had been expected to have long held their 2017 AGM which would have ratified an electoral committee to oversee the elections.

The electoral committee should be set up at least six months before an elective congress. 

In their defence, the Chiyangwa-led executive had said what is key is that the elections are held in the year on which the cycle falls with the actual dates, “being a mere issue of semantics’’. To this end, they had sought to hold an Annual General Meeting on February 17 in Harare where congress was expected to ratify the new electoral committee that will outline the elections roadmap.

However, the chickens have come home to roost with the SRC pronouncing themselves on the elections saga and ruling Chiyangwa offside.

“The SRC has observed events at Zifa regarding the alleged failure to organise elections for its structures and we hereby wish to pronounce our position to the leadership of Zifa, its members, stakeholders and the public,” SRC acting director-general Joseph Muchechetere said in a statement.

According to the Zifa constitution registered with the SRC, Zifa elections should be held by March 29.

“Firstly, we are in the process of engaging the leadership of Zifa to offer them advice on how to properly handle the electoral process for all Zifa structures in line with the Zifa constitution,” Muchechetere added.

“Secondly, we wish to make it clear to Zifa or any other sport and recreation organisation that we expect them to operate within the confines of their respective constitutions, provisions of the SRC Act, which is the prevailing National Law on the Organisation and Administration of Sport in Zimbabwe. Thirdly, any deviation from the above requirements will be unacceptable and will not hesitate to step in and restore order. May you be guided accordingly.”

The looming expiry of Chiyangwa’s tenure and his inaction to organise elections has also drawn the ire of local football stakeholders who insist they will challenge the executive’s legitimacy in court if Zifa elections fail to take place by March 29, 2018.

This comes as Zifa allegedly made overtures to world governing body Fifa seeking an extension to their term of office beyond March 29.

As recourse to the current crisis, football stakeholders have called on Fifa or the SRC to appoint a normalisation committee or transitional authority which leaves the running of Zifa in the hands of the secretariat for a limited period of time whilst the preparations and conduct of elections is underway.

The stakeholders also want the secretariat to relocate to neutral offices at the Zifa Headquarters located at Zifa House 53 Livingstone Avenue, Harare.

The Zifa secretariat is currently housed at Chiyangwa’s private property along Enterprise Road, Chisipite, Harare where a recent audit unearthed that Chiyangwa charges $2 500 in monthly rentals.

That amount was this month adjusted to $6 000.

Chiyangwa will make a total of $420 000 by the time the lease agreement between himself and Zifa expires in September 2021.

Zifa’s latest audited financial results show that the flamboyant president of the country’s supreme football governing body, Chiyangwa, earned $72 000 in 2017 alone by renting out his offices to the association

At a recent media briefing Zifa board member finance Philemon Machana, said Zifa was not compelled to hold elections in March, but would hold the polls inside 2018.

He insisted that what is key is that the elections are held in the year on which the cycle falls with the actual dates, “being a mere issue of semantics".

“The election road map will be finalised at the AGM. That’s when the electoral committee will be announced and ratified. The road map is going to be discussed then and if you go to the electoral code it explains how the electoral committee works. The minimum has to be six months after the election of the electoral committee because they need to be in existence for a minimum of six months before they start conducting any election,” said Machana.

“So if they are going to be set up in February it means there have to be a lapse of six months. So the elections cannot be in March. Our understanding is that the elections have to be in 2018, not necessarily March. People are just saying March because traditionally the elections are held in March but the constitution doesn’t say March . . . but it has to be 2018.”

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.