The Sunday Mail
IT’S rather ironic that the document that Phillip Chiyangwa is widely accused of bastardising had pride of place on his office desk. Among documents that lay on his office table on Friday were those that had to do with his vast business empire’s finances. There were also dozens of documents detailing his campaign strategy for the Zanu-PF primary elections.
Also on that desk was the Zifa constitution, highlighted on almost every page.
The Zifa Electoral Code was also there.
Chiyangwa’s plate is always full but these days it’s fuller than usual.
His businesses needs attention, football too needs him, both as Zifa boss and Cosafa president, while the ambition to become a parliamentarian once again is consuming a significant chunk of his time.
Talking about the “negatives of football” is that last thing he wanted to do when The Sunday Mail Sport ambushed him at his Harare offices.
Chiyangwa has been uncharacteristically quiet of late amid accusations that he is unconstitutionally holding on to the Zifa presidency.
His voice has been missing from the Zifa narrative and getting it took some craft.“Why do you guys (journalists) always want the negatives? The Mighty Warriors flew to Namibia and won but I know you are not here to talk about that. During Cuthbert Dube’s days they used to travel by bus and eat kapenta for breakfast but with PC in charge everything is a breeze .
“Zifa employees are getting paid on time and the Warriors are playing friendly matches but no that is not the story Makomborero wants. You have your own agendas,” he charged.
How do you respond to accusations that you are so desperate to stay on as Zifa president that you are flouting the constitution? If there was ever a must ask question then this was it.
Whatever Chiyangwa was going to say in response would make the story.
There was a nasty look, a shake of the head and an indication that Chiyangwa was ready to talk.
“This is Zimbabwe’s football bible, I cannot do without it,” said Chiyangwa as he waved the Zifa constitution.
“This is what I am said to be flouting but I have read it over and over again and have not seen any statute I am violating.
“Let me say from the onset that I challenge anyone who accuses me of violating the Zifa constitution to come forward and prove their claims.
“They say Chiyangwa has lost mandate but I go to Fifa functions, meet the big bosses including that man there (pointing at a picture of himself and Fifa president Gianni Infantino) and no one there tells me I am flouting the Zifa constitution.
“I am not a renegade but an important member of the international football family, I am the Cosafa president…”
Despite the term of the current board having lapsed at the end of March and two members having jumped ship Chiyangwa maintains its business as usual.
“I hear people shouting that we should hand over the running of Zifa to the general secretary because Felton Kamambo and Piraishe Mabhena, two people who never added much value and were part of the Cuthbert Dube mess, have resigned.
“What do I do? I go and study the Zifa constitution and again there is nowhere that I find a statute that I’m violating.”
Those arguing against Chiyangwa’s continued stay allege that the ostentatious property mogul is violating Section 32 (10) of the Zifa constitution.
“If more than 50 percent of the positions should become vacant the general secretary shall convene an Extraordinary Congress within two months in order to elect a replacement for the remaining term of mandate under the supervision of the Electoral Committee according to the Zifa Electoral Code,” reads the section.
But Chiyangwa hits back saying 50 percent of the positions in the Zifa board are not vacant.
He is also quick to refer to Section 2.2C of the Zifa Electoral Code which says the “elected internal bodies of Zifa shall continue to exercise their functions until the completion of the electoral process.”
“Look here we were elected as six board members during the elections that ushered me into office in December, 2015.
“However, we operated as five because of what happened to the late Edzai Kasinauyo. Now among those five two board members have resigned.
“How does that affect us in terms of Article 32.10? We still have three elected members, a representative from the PSL and the women’s league…” he said.
But Keni Mubaiwa turned down your invitation to come into the board representing the Premier Soccer League?
“That one is never about the individual but the Premier Soccer League as an affiliate. Their place in the board is guaranteed at any given moment.
“All they have to do is tell us who will be representing their interests in the board. Mubaiwa said no but the women’s representative is with us.”
Chiyangwa further insists that his term as Zifa president has not expired, arguing that the notion that he was elected to finish off Cuthbert Dube’s term is wrong.
“The problem we have is that of people arguing from positions of shocking ignorance. And in way that explains my silence of late, I cannot argue with the uninformed, it’s a waste of time.
“There is nowhere in the Zifa constitution where a president is elected to finish the term of his predecessor. Section 38 of our football bible speaks explicitly to this.
“Section 38 (1) of the Zifa constitution says “the president shall be elected by Congress for a period of for years.”
But with Zifa having written to Fifa seeking counsel on how to proceed after the expiration of the current’s board’s term there is still a possibility that the presidency will be up for grabs when elections finally take place.
“Well if Fifa direct that we hold elections we will do so without delay and I will defeat, hands down, anyone who dares to challenge me,” vowed Chiyangwa.
“I am not scared of elections, not at all. All I am saying is let’s follow the constitution and do what Fifa tell us to do.
“And if there is anyone who should be blamed for what the constitution says then it is Cuthbert Dube. He is the guy who had this thing amended in order to suit his selfish interests, he never envisaged being recalled from office. I just came in and found this constitution as it is and am saying let’s follow it to the tee.”