Ball in Fifa's court

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) assembly yesterday agreed to set up an electoral committee at yesterday’s AGM and are now waiting for guidance from Fifa regarding the contentious timeframe for the polls.

Councillors appointed an eight-member electoral committee which is understood to be made up of prominent lawyers although their names are still being withheld.

The Central Region led by chairperson Stanley Chapeta proposed that the electoral committee should begin its work immediately instead of the six-month induction period stipulated in the Zifa constitution.

Any constitutional amendment should be ratified by Fifa and following yesterday’s AGM, Zifa legal advisor Itai Ndudzo said they are now approaching the Zurich-based organisation.

This amendment must also be ratified by the Sport and recreation Commission (SRC) in order for it to conform to the country’s laws.

“I want you to bear in mind that there was also a proposal to amend the electoral code to allow a shorter period for the commencement of work by the electoral committee than the six months as provided in the electoral code,” Ndudzo said after the AGM yesterday.

“Important things to note in that proposal are that the proposal has been put to congress and the congress has voted in favour of that proposal to say that there be shorter period.

“However, congress has also agreed and accepted that the decision is not effective until there is confirmation of its validity from Fifa and acceptance by the SRC in terms of the Section 29 of the SRC Act.

“So the decision has been carried by the congress unanimously subject to the approval of the decision by Fifa.

“Zifa is an affiliate of Fifa and Zifa statutes must be in all times be in compliance with the Fifa statutes.

“So what happens is that these proposals will be looked at by the Fifa legal department and will accept them if they are in good order and our hope at this stage is that they are in good order. So we hope that Fifa will approve those but obviously we cannot speak on behalf of Fifa.

Ndudzo added: “Before we came to this AGM, there has been a lot of debate and speculation as to which are the positions that are eligible for contentions. But we will have to wait for the electoral committee to convene and it will determine that question.

“And how soon they convene depends on if the amendment made to the statutes today finds favour with Fifa it means that they are going to meet and pronounce themselves immediately and the expectations was that the response was ought to have arrived by now.

“Which means by next week we should be able to have received indications from Fifa regards the proposal. If Fifa says no that’s the end of the road because we can’t defy Fifa. So Fifa will determine.   

In the run up to the elections, there had been moves by the current Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa to delay the polls.

Chiyangwa came into office in December 2015 to fill the void left by the departure of Cuthbert Dube’s executive, whose term in office was expiring on 31 March this year.

Once the electoral committee is in place, it will determine whether Chiyangwa will remain in office for a further 22 months or not.

“The issue of elections was on the agenda of today’s AGM. It was agenda item number 14 and in consideration of that agenda item congress has agreed that the correct position in terms of Article 25C of the Zifa constitution is that elections are conducted, organised, run supervised, managed by the electoral committee,” Ndudzo said.

“So elections are entirely the baby of the electoral college. The second point is that the congress also agreed that it is the responsibility of the executive committee to appoint an electoral committee and then congress installs that electoral committee.

“So today (yesterday), the congress has agreed to install the electoral committee appointed by the executive committee.

“I think the specific names of the eight members of the electoral committee are with the vice-president Omega Sibanda and the chief executive Joseph Mamutse.

“It has also been agreed that the electoral committee is the one that has the responsibility to come up with the electoral roadmap in terms of advising us: when are we going to have elections, whose positions are vacant and subject for contestation in that election.

“Where are we going to have those elections; who is eligible to participate in those elections and all the normal requirements of conducting an election in terms of the Zifa constitution and the electoral board.

“The electoral committee when it sits is the one which looks at the Zifa constitution and the electoral committee to determine when we are going to have elections and by what process. That was the position of the Congress.”

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