The Sunday Mail
ZIFA councillors yesterday unanimously voted to recall the association’s president, Felton Kamambo, and two other board members — Philemon Machana and Bryton Malandule — and retained the rest of the executive committee.
Gift Banda is now the acting president.
In a highly-anticipated Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM), which was presided over by ZIFA lawyer Chenaimwoyo Gumiro, 45 of the 58 Congress members turned up.
Although all members of the board that was suspended by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) on November 16, 2021 were invited to answer to charges levelled against them, Kamambo, Machana, Malandule and Stanley Chapeta were conspicuous by their absence.
But that did not stop the meeting from proceeding.
During the same indaba, the trio of Premier Soccer League and Women’s Soccer League chairpersons Farai Jere and Barbra Chikosi, respectively, as well Sugar Chagonda were afforded the opportunity to respond to charges against them.
They were resultantly spared the axe.
ZIFA vice president Gift Banda, whose controversial suspension by his colleagues in the board had been lifted a month before the SRC banned the Kamambo board, also survived the chop.
With Banda, Jere, Chikosi and Chagonda spared, the Congress ensured ZIFA would continue to be led by a duly-elected board.
The quartet is enough to make a quorum.
Gumiro told the media after the indaba that yesterday’s EGM was “certified as a constitutional internal process’’, which saw 43 councillors out of the 45 that attended voting in favour of Kamambo’s ouster.
The former ZIFA president was facing a litany of charges, including abuse of Covid-19 relief funds and breaching the association’s constitution on several occasions.
There was one spoilt ballot on the vote to recall Kamambo, while one delegate stuck with the beleaguered Harare executive.
Machana, the board member in charge of finance and widely regarded as the de facto leader of the association before the SRC suspension, was recalled by a 44-1 vote.
Two delegates had tried to back board member (development) Malandule, but, in the end, the man facing charges of sexually abusing female referees was sent packing by a 43-2 vote.
“This was an internal process which does not change much regarding the situation on the ground.
“The SRC suspension remains in force; the FIFA suspension remains in force,” said Gumiro.
“So what now needs to be done is to ensure or convince the SRC to first lift the suspension of the executive committee and also convince FIFA, because, remember, there is a condition on the FIFA letter that they can only lift the suspension (of Zimbabwe) upon the reinstatement of the Kamambo-led board.”
He said ZIFA had to procedurally communicate that “the Kamambo board has been reinstated but in terms of the ZIFA constitution”.
It is widely expected that Congress will write to the SRC this week to apprise them of the latest developments, after which the regulatory body will review the situation before any re-engagement with FIFA.
This will set an anxious period for local football.
ZIFA Congress spokesperson Martin Kweza summed up the proceedings.
“We had 45 councillors coming out of 58, and that’s a huge statement that Congress has decided to take back their football and they want to resolve issues that are facing Zimbabwe football at large,” said Kweza.
“Our EGM went on very well. We would want to inform the nation that like we communicated before that some members’ (mandates) were going to revoked and some not.
“That’s exactly what happened, so today Congress spoke with one voice.”
He also shed more light on the fate of Jere, Chagonda and Chikosi.
“The other three members were then saved after they appeared before Congress and defended themselves.
“Congress felt they were satisfied with their defence and resolved to withdraw charges that had been levelled against the three members; that is, Farai Jere, Barbra Chikosi and Sugar Chagonda.
“So, they remain part of the board.”
Kweza explained the logic behind appointing Banda as acting ZIFA president.
“In terms of our constitution, when Gift Banda was suspended by the then-executive, he was supposed to be brought before Congress in terms of the constitution, and Congress was supposed to determine whether he was guilty and then expel him or lift the suspension.
“This did not happen and the constitution is very clear: It says if that doesn’t happen, the suspension falls away and the member remains part of the board.
“So, technically, what it means is that Banda is the vice president of ZIFA at the moment.
“Again, in terms of the constitution, it is very clear that in the absence of the ZIFA president, the vice president shall take over and act as the president until the next Congress, where an election can be held if necessary.”
Congress also tasked the board with coming up with a roadmap for elections.
Added Kweza: “One of the things that they are going to do is to make sure they come up with a roadmap that will lead us to the election.
“It will cover the appointment of the electoral committee and appointment of the constitutional review committee.
“We tasked them also to carry out a forensic audit and we tasked them to do a structural reform; this is going to be done by the football people, and that’s ZIFA.”
The ZIFA Congress also emphasised the need for harmony between the ZIFA executive committee and the SRC.
The regulatory body is likely to be informed of the EGM’s outcome this week.
ZIFA will also be asking the commission to lift the suspension of the committee.
The next step will involve engagement between ZIFA and FIFA for Zimbabwe to be re-admitted into the international football family.
“We are one with the SRC; we do not want to fight with the SRC.
“It’s a Government arm, we respect them and we want our relationship to grow and continue for the sake of football,” said Kweza.