Set back for Zifa board

05 Dec, 2021 - 00:12 0 Views
Set back for Zifa board

The Sunday Mail

Petros Kausiyo
Sports Editor

ZIFA lawyer Chenaimwoyo Gumiro was yesterday thrust back into the spotlight as the board’s Administrative Court appeal against their suspension by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) suffered a huge setback.

This comes as ZIFA board member Sugar Chagonda distanced himself from the appeal through his legal counsel.

ZIFA president Felton Kamambo and his executive committee — commonly known as the board — were suspended by the SRC on November 16.

However, the suspension did not affect Premier Soccer League chairperson Farai Jere and his Women’s Soccer League counterpart Barbra Chikosi as they are not elected directly and only sit in the executive committee courtesy of being representatives of their respective affiliates.

On Wednesday, the board members, through Gumiro, lodged an appeal with the Administrative Court to formally challenge their suspension.

Chagonda was cited as one of the appellants together with Kamambo, Philemon Machana, Bryton Malandule, Stanley Chapeta, Jere and Chikosi.

After submitting their appeal, the suspended board issued a statement claiming they had the right to return to resume duties pending a final determination by the court.

The association’s chief executive, Joseph Mamutse, who was suspended by the SRC last year, had also returned on the basis of challenging his ban in the same court.

On yet another dramatic day in the saga, on Friday, SRC acting director-general Sebastian Garikai indicated that noting of an appeal by the Administrative Court could not set aside the suspension.

“Your letter dated December 3, 2021 refers. While a so-called ‘appeal’ has been noted in terms of Section 32 of the SRC Act, kindly note that this action does not have the effect of suspending the decision of the SRC to suspend the entire ZIFA Board,” read part of Garikai’s statement.

“Indeed, it is for this reason that the general secretary of ZIFA (Mamutse) remains suspended to this day, notwithstanding his own ‘appeal’ to the same Administrative Court just under a year ago.”

Yesterday, the suspended board suffered yet another major setback in their desperate comeback bid as Chagonda, who had been cited as the fourth appellant, distanced himself from the appeal.

Through his legal counsel Cyprian Chabvepi, the public relations executive challenged Gumiro to clear the air and remove his name from the list of appellants.

“We represent Mr Sugar Chagonda, who has instructed us to address you. Please note our interest herein. Our client advises us that you noted an appeal against a decision to suspend members of the ZIFA board by the Sports and Recreation Commission in terms of Section 32 of the SRC Act recently.

“The appeal was noted citing Mr Sugar Chagonda as the fourth appellant together with other suspended Zimbabwe Football Association board members. With regards to the said appeal, we have been instructed to advise of the following: 1. Our client did not instruct you or any other lawyer to note an appeal against the decision made by the SRC. He never requested of anyone within the suspended board or executive committee to give lawyers such instructions,” read the letter in part.

Chabvepi said Chagonda has already publicly stated he will respect the SRC’s decision.

“He will await further directions on the matter from the world football governing body, FIFA. The position he took has remained the same,’’ he added.

He gave Gumiro 48 hours (by December 7, 2021) to address the anomaly.

“Lawyers may only act on instructions of persons they purport to represent, and Mr Chagonda did not instruct!

“May you kindly favour us with a copy of the withdrawal notice or correspondence with respect to our client once it has been filed,’’ wrote Chabvepi.

The Kamambo-led board, which has been receiving legal advice from Gumiro, have been fighting their suspension.

After being advised to resume duties following the noting of the appeal by the Administrative Court, the board subsequently held a meeting on Thursday night.

On Friday, they issued a communique claiming they wanted to exhaust available legal remedies to clear their names.

“The nation and the world must know that this application was informed by the need to utilise available local legal remedies for the prime purpose of clearing the names of the board members, which have been unfairly soiled as a result of the suspension which, according to the SRC, was informed by a litany of allegations, chief among them failure to respond to 2019 AFCON enquiry letter and abuse of public funds,” said the statement.

“The legal effect of the appeal is to, among other things, immediately suspend the decision by the SRC to suspend the ZIFA board, meaning the ZIFA board is fully back by operation of law pending the finalisation of the matter by the Administrative Court.”

But Garikai shot down the suggestion.

“For your information and further research, we refer you to these various authorities to the effect that your ‘clients’ appeal’ requires further relief in the form of an interdict from the High Court in order that this ‘appeal’ is deemed to suspend the decision of the SRC pending the outcome of the Administrative Court proceedings,” he said.

Share This: