Racism row hits Zim Swimming

HARARE - In a rather sad and damning development to the country’s sport, the Zimbabwe Aquatic Union (Zau) is in the eye of a storm after allegations of racism.

The Mary Kloppers led-board is allegedly sidelining black administrators from key decision-making positions among other things.

Those in swimming circles are accusing Kloppers of turning Zua into an “all white club” private organisation while those who question this status quo are labelled “enemies”.

Beside the racism allegations, Kloppers and her board have also been accused of violating the Zua constitution.

During election time, sources who are privy the goings-on but could not go on record for fear of victimisation say, Zua ignores the nomination process as outlined in the constitution in order to hand pick their preferred candidates.

Even the association’s important meetings like the Annual General Meetings (AGM) or selection meetings are held at Kloppers’ home in Mandara.

During the provincial and national selection meetings to pick swimmers to represent either the province or the country, the process is allegedly a closely-guarded secret where all the selectors are whites while black officials are not allowed to participate in this crucial aspect.

As a result, there are instances on record where deserving swimmers are left out of the relevant teams because of the flawed selection process.

For example, early last year, a certain student (name provided) was omitted from the team that was to represent Mashonaland at the senior nationals of February 2017.

This was despite the fact that the student had the second highest number of points in their relevant age group.

Another allegation is that Zua suspended constitutionally elected Mashonaland Province chairperson Maitirwa Mukonoweshuro last year for voicing her concerns regarding the “privatisation of sport by this powerful core group”.

Mukonoweshuro was suspended on August 4, 2017 only to be reinstated by the Sports and Recreation (SRC) on October 13 the same year.

However, Kloppers and her board defied the SRC directive nailing her with fresh allegations.

This is despite the fact that the SRC on August 3 wrote to Zau acknowledging that Munoweshuro’s concerns had merit and therefore needed to postpone their AGM which was scheduled for August 5.

However, Zau went ahead and held the AGM in defiance of the SRC directive without satisfying the request by provincial members.

As that was not enough, the meeting was held outside the 60 day notice which is enshrined in the Zua constitution something Kloppers even admitted in one of the conversations in possession of the Daily News.

“The constitution is a bit conflicting, hence, I presume, the oversight on the 60 days. It states that 21 days notice of meeting is to be given – now that is a third of the 60 days. It also states that the AGM is to be held by July 15,” she said.

“In the past all these things have not been compiled to by the letter as we all know for example it is silly to bring everyone into Harare for two separate meetings, therefore ZSBC and Zau is done on same day. Generally, provincial board should be discussing nominations for ZSBC positions shortly after their own AGM’s then this 60 day notice period become irrelevant.

“It comes back to the fact that all constitutions need a good looking at. Zau’s is done and about to be distributed to everyone to have a look at and for acceptance at the AGM under notices of motion. And then ZSBC’s and provinces can be done using those guidelines given to us by SRC, ZOC and CANA.’

Despite the fact that Mukonoweshuro is yet to be charged seven months on, Kloppers and her board are adamant to hold elections later this month for the provincials.

Contacted for comment Kloppers refused to entertain the subject saying:“I can’t talk to you about it. I have been advised not to comment about it.”

SRC acting director general Joseph Muchechetere admitted his organisation has received several complaints regarding this sensitive subject.

“We actually held several meetings with the Aquatic Union and also the Swimming Control Board including with the former Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane,” the SRC boss said.

“We have received concerns and complaints of racial discrimination and also unfair treatment of individuals.

“We are actually meeting at the board level and we feel we need to get to the bottom of the whole issue. There is no colour in sport; we respect everyone, whether it’s black or white.”

Comments (17)

It's true. Major problems in the sport. We can't speak much in the open because then they "fix" our children. As a parent, one doesn't mind taking a bit of the heat but it becomes complicated when our kids are made to face the fire

Sad indeed - 12 May 2018

Oooooh at last this is being talked about openly. We are soooooooo tired of the cruel and high handed ways of this administration which has been there forever, not wanting to make room for new blood. I really hope the authorities do something. The situation is not sustainable.

Viva Zim - 12 May 2018

Saka SRC iyi knew that they had "several complaints" but still gave these guys an award in December 2017? Hanzi ye administration. It was then posted on the Zim swimming Facebook page. As a warning to members that they are buddies with the Commission, I suppose. Aaah yaaas. Who was paid what to give this award when there were unresolved issues?

There is no colour in corruption - 12 May 2018

We really shouldn't be having discussions like this in Zimbabwe, so long after independence. Where are we going wrong?

Ndanga - 13 May 2018

It would be interesting to know how long this board has been at the helm of the sport. Usually, the failure to stick to Constitutions etc happens when people have been there for too long such that they confuse the sport for their own personal property. Maybe the reporter should ask about the amount of time these people have been there

Observer - 13 May 2018

An AGM for a national sport held at someone's house? Pakaipa

Claudette - 14 May 2018

Kkkkk......and we know varungu like big dogs so even if you want to say something different from what they are saying, how do you say it when you are at someone's house? Clever way of staying charge I must say

Bhonzo - 14 May 2018

can someone tell us what is the minister doing about it.100 days in office wotadza kunzwa zvakadai.some of our children end up playing with boys at joina city because they have been sideline.thank you so much for bring this up as a parent i feared to say something because my child will be in trouble.

tadiwa - 14 May 2018

This is definitely something that some unbiased committee should be looking into, like the parliamentary portfolio committee on sport. Sure, we don't want to pull the race card where it doesn't apply but in this case it does. I used to get so angry with them when my children were swimming but we were fewer back then and more easily ignored. There was also the very real risk of unfair treatment of our kids. When we wanted to come into decision making positions, they would say that the roles needed a lot of commitment and integrity. You do the Maths about what they were actually saying. Never mind that they were never accountable to us nor did they show integrity in their dealings with members. I ask myself why we let it continue. I guess it was because for us it was voluntary support for our children while for them, it's a business which is funded by our subscriptions. So they have all the time in the world as well as the means to guard their territory while we earn a living elsewhere. Hopefully this is the start of this thing finally being sorted out

Zvaiwana - 14 May 2018

This problem is also very obvious in Matabeleland. As an example, a ZAU board member showed some unacceptable behaviour at a gala this past season. A report was lodged but nothing that we are aware of was ever done. So, they are not slow to deal with people who challenge them but among themselves anything goes. This includes unilaterally suspending people for the silliest of reasons, wasting the subs of members finding lawyers for matters that are clearly about their egos and nothing more

Kiri - 14 May 2018

And the reporter has got it spot on about sham elections that don't go according to what their Constitutions say. Then we are told that we cannot approach the SRC direct because it only deals with national sport associations. A provincial AGM being held when there are unresolved issues that have a bearing on decisions to be made at that AGM. No proper notice of such AGM given. Just a forwarded e mail. Talk about bad service! Nominations different from what was said in the first e mail notifying us of this AGM. The anomalies are just so many and they don't care because they think we are not people..

#blacklivesmatter - 14 May 2018

Go Madam Chair. Don't back down even if it gets to the Supreme Court. We will continue quietly providing info where we can. The day of reckoning is coming no matter what tricks they try

Batai Vanhu - 14 May 2018

So, the SRC knew and was having talks with them? Wow! That's not what we heard. Can we please have an honest national sports association if we want to see swimming going anywhere

Shocking - 14 May 2018

SRC is led by blacks. This clique does not have any respect for a black person. If several reports have been received, please do investigate......if we all claim to be Zimbabweans, why this discrimination by the colour of our skin. This is sickening. Stop racism, we all are equal

Mutual Respect - 15 May 2018

It's no secret that attempts were made, more than once, for the issues to be looked at in a way that would make sure all interests were considered, but ZAU President Mary Kloppers and her fellow board members, Neil Bradshaw, Lorna Riley, Tracey Doorman and Sheelah Crause were having none of it. They didn't think anyone else was created with the ability to reason and to look at things differently than them. We look forward to the Sport and Recreation Commission getting to the bottom of the matter

We know them - 16 May 2018

These ZAU guys have no interest in the swimmer else they would demonstrate how what provincial business they poke their nose in helps the swimmer. That's because their own kids finished swimming years ago and our kids just represent a steady income for them. How can they foster a toxic environment all season? An environment where people are afraid to be associated with people that ZAU doesn't like. What's that got to do with creating a space where any Zimbabwean can get involved in swimming if they want?

Swimmers' Rights - 16 May 2018

vamugabe dzokai vanhu vaye vatanga can src do something for the sake of our black swimmiers.

john - 18 May 2018

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