Fresh controversy rocks Zifa polls

THE Zifa electoral process sparked fresh controversy yesterday after the appeals committee delivered a judgment upholding the disqualification of presidential aspirant Felton Kamambo and Gift Banda, who is eyeing the vice-presidency in their absence in blatant violation of their rights to be heard.

BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA

Gift Banda

The ruling raises a stink because ordinarily, appellants are supposed to be notified of the date the appeal would be heard so that they come and argue their cases.

However, the appeals committee chaired by Tafadzwa Mazonde went ahead to deliver the judgment in the absence of the appellants.

The appeals committee in its judgment said Kamambo was improperly nominated by Harare City chairperson Alois Masepe, arguing he was not a member of Zifa.

Masepe by virtue of being Harare City chairperson is a Premier Soccer League (PSL) governor and a Zifa councillor who is part of the electoral college that will vote in the Zifa board elections scheduled for December 1.

Interestingly, Banda was also nominated by Masepe, but on this ground of appeal, the appeals committee upheld it, arguing that the issue of being a “member” of Zifa only applied to the presidency.

The committee, while upholding Kamambo’s other two grounds of appeal, dismissed the third ground relating to his nomination.

Part of the judgment read: “The appellant’s nomination was proposed by three individuals, namely Sween Mushonga on behalf of the Zifa Northern Region League, Moses Chikoti on behalf of Zifa-Highfield Area Zone and one individual whose name is only stated as Alois, purportedly on behalf of PSL. It is the proposition by that individual which is the source of contention in these proceedings.

“It is common cause (or ought to be accepted as such) that PSL is not a member of Zifa, at least going by the definition of “member” as espoused in article 10 of the constitution. There can be no doubt that the appellant was alive to the fact that it was a condition of his successful candidature that his name must be proposed by three nominators.

“In any event, he does not challenge that requirement. His contention is that his nomination was done by “requisite three people of good standing with Zifa.”

“But the problem is that it is not enough for the nominators to be people of good standing, article 38(3) of the constitution requires that the nominators be members of Zifa. I am satisfied that electoral committee was correct in reaching the conclusion that the appellant had not been properly nominated. For this reason, this ground of appeal ought to fail. We accordingly order as follows. The appellant was improperly nominated. The appeal is accordingly dismissed,” the judgement read in part.

The Mazonde-chaired committee however, has been viewed as the most subjective board that is aiding the Zifa leadership in thwarting and suppressing the fundamental interests of football stakeholders.

Kamambo dismissed the judgment, arguing it was delivered by a kangaroo court and vowed to fight the system hard and long to bring normalcy to the game.

The former Zifa board member, who has since taken his issue to Fifa, said their tricks were now coming to an end.

“We were never notified of the date of the appeal hearing and judgment so that we can argue our case, but they chose to deliver judgment in our absence. Where did they get our heads of arguments? I will fight to the bitter end. Who does not know Alois Masepe? Who does not know that he is a PSL governor and a councillor who will vote?”

Ordinarily, if there was a spelling mistake, missing surname or ID, that is purely administrative, the Zifa secretariat was supposed to call the appellant and correct if there was a mistake and not to disqualify the applicant on that basis. World soccer governing body Fifa has said it was now seized with the matter. The Zifa executive committee elections are scheduled for December 1.