ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa’s spirited effort to retain his post at all costs in next month’s executive committee elections have been exposed, amid shocking claims that he invented fictional rape charges against his challenger Felton Kamambo so that the latter could be disqualified.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA/HENRY MHARA
Kamambo, a former board member in Chiyangwa’s executive, had his nomination papers thrown away by the association’s electoral committee on Friday, after he reportedly failed an integrity test.
He has since filed a notice of appeal against the decision.
The electoral committee did not disclose to Kamambo or make the reasons public why he failed the integrity test, but it has emerged that Chiyangwa allegedly concocted rape charges, where he is accusing his challenger of sexually abusing a Mighty Warriors and Black Rhinos Queens player (name supplied).
Contacted for comment, Chiyangwa, through his lawyer Itai Ndudzo yesterday appeared to confirm that Kamambo was facing rape allegations.
“What I know, it is Kamambo who first went to the newspapers making a lot of verbal allegations against Mr Chiyangwa, particularly your newspaper (NewsDay). Mr Kamambo is aware that there are serious allegations that he is facing. He must simply answer to those allegations than to throw allegations around Mr Chiyangwa. It’s not fair. People who want to be leaders should have a proper context of football in order to become good administrators,” Ndudzo said.
Kamambo yesterday said he was aware of the plot to smear and discredit him.
“They did not give reasons why I was disqualified, except that I was suspended by the association. The day I went to collect my nomination papers, I was told that the secretary-general (Joseph Mamutse) was not around to give me. But the next day, I was shocked to read in a local daily newspaper that I was refused the papers because of allegations that I abused some Mighty Warriors players,” Kamambo said.
“So, I’m aware of those allegations, and it might be true that they based my disqualification on that because they are not forthcoming on the reasons and the exact nature of the findings of the electoral committee as regards this basis of my disqualification. But I know these are all tactics to try and stop me from contesting.”
Sources claimed that Chiyangwa is battling to convince the alleged rape victim to lay charges against Kamambo, amid reports of attempting to give her a $15 000 inducement — that was rejected.
Black Rhinos Queens is owned by the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and the sources said Chiyangwa’s “dirty manoeuvres” have angered the army, who feel that their name is being dragged into the mud, and is ready to intervene and restore order.
“The lady who is said to have been raped is a soldier, who plays for Black Rhinos Queens and the Mighty Warriors. She has refuted the alleged rape reports and said she did not even know Kamambo. She says she has been approached by some Zifa officials who wanted to give her $15 000 so that she makes a (rape) report to the police. The lady has phone numbers of these Zifa people who have been pestering her,” the source said.
“The player was undergoing military training during the time that the alleged rape happened. But we know that when soldiers are undergoing training, they are confined and it is mysterious how she could have been raped, especially by an outsider. The army is not happy because its name has been dragged into this mess. It will act, and it won’t be very nice,” another source said.
It is believed Chiyangwa resorted to using dirty tactics to try and bar Kamambo from contesting as he sensed a heavy drubbing in the December 1 elections.
Chiyangwa is running scared after most of his allies lost their bid to make it into the influential Zifa Council, whose vote will be crucial in determining the man to take charge of the top post for the next four years.
He has allegedly resorted to unorthodox means, including amending electoral rules to push his agenda, with his challenger accusing him of interference in the duties of the Zifa’s Electoral Committee.
Kamambo also cried foul after it emerged that the integrity checks for prospective candidates were conducted by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc), where Chiyangwa is alleged to have strong links.
Normally, it is the duty of the police to carry out integrity tests.
In the end, Kamambo was disqualified alongside former Njube Sundowns director Gift Banda after they reportedly failed Zacc’s integrity test.
Banda, also a former Zifa board member, had declared interest to challenge Zifa vice-president Omega Sibanda.
The incumbent leadership has also been fighting to ensure the disqualified duo’s appeals are not heard, with Mamutse yesterday advising Kamambo and Banda that they would not furnish them with the necessary information regarding the appeals process.
“We regret to advise you that we are unable to release this information to an individual who is banned by the association and as long as the ban subsists, the association cannot entertain you on any football activity, elections included,” Mamutse wrote to the two in separate letters yesterday.
However, Kamambo still went ahead and lodged a notice of appeal without being furnished with the reasons for his disqualification.