Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
ASPIRING Zifa vice-president, Gift Banda, who was disqualified from the race, says he will not hesitate to approach the courts in the event that the national football association does not hear his appeal.
Banda was last week barred from contesting against incumbent, Omega Sibanda, at the December 1 Zifa elections alongside Felton Kamambo and Mlungisi Moyo.
Kamambo, a former Zifa board member, had set his sights on challenging the Zifa president, Philip Chiyangwa, with former Chicken Inn treasurer, Moyo, targeting a board seat.
The trio submitted their appeals at the beginning of the week.
A livid Banda accused Zifa of “frustrating and using unorthodox” means to shut him out of the polls.
The former Njube Sundowns and Zifa Southern Region chairman said he deserves to have his appeal heard before the Justice Moses Chinhengo-led Zifa Appeals Committee after paying a “prohibitive” $10 000 to the FA’s coffers.
“I can’t understand why they (Zifa) are denying me my right to appeal when they allowed me to file my nomination forms. There were a lot of irregularities that occurred before, during and after the nomination court sat. Some members of the nomination court are highly compromised as they are either friends or legal representatives of the incumbents. However, that’s beside the point; the reasons for my disqualification are baseless and that is why I’ve appealed against the decision to deny me the opportunity to contest.
“What surprises me is that the secretariat which was supposed to take note of my appeal literally refused to do so. On Tuesday, after getting communication that Zifa were not willing to give me the documents I had asked before sending my heads of argument for the appeal, I was told that the $3 200 which I deposited into the account that I had used to collect my nomination forms was not enough. Mamutse (Joseph, the Zifa chief executive officer) told me that the appeal fee was $10 000 and I paid the balance. Surprisingly, after paying that prohibitive appeal fee, they refused to take my appeal letter. My legal team then delivered my appeal at the offices of the Appeals Committee chairperson.
“I’ve written to Fifa seeking their intervention because I’m hitting a brick wall. The question is; why are they (Zifa officials) going out of their way to throw me out of the elections? What is it that has led them to create an unfair playing field? My participation is meant to give councillors an opportunity to choose a leader of their choice. If I’m to lose at an election, I’ll respect that but I can’t accept a situation where I’m entirely shut out of the race. I’m following the right channels stage by stage, and if it means the court be the last resort, then I’ll approach them,” said Banda.
In his notice to appeal, Banda had, among other things, requested for the association’s account number to deposit the appeal fee, a copy of the Zifa electoral code, the association’s constitution as well as Fifa’s electoral code.
He demanded that Zifa provide him with minutes and a register of the Zifa electoral committee meeting that barred him from contesting last Friday.
The Zifa electoral committee chaired by Vusilizwe Vuma barred Banda from contesting, saying he was improperly nominated, failed the integrity test and had not rehabilitated from a ban lifted in 2012.
Banda says the electoral committee erred by denying him a chance to contest Sibanda for the Zifa post, as he is in possession of a letter stating that his suspension was lifted in 2012.
The ex-Zifa Southern Region boss is also armed with a Zacc clearance letter allowing him to stand in the elections.