The Sunday Mail
BELEAGUERED Harare City Football Club chairperson Alois Masepe believes the club’s constitution was violated when council recently ordered the dissolution of its executive committee on May 9.
The decision was reportedly occasioned by a litany of allegations that include failure to convene an annual general meeting (AGM), abuse of funds and personalisation of the club.
Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume, who is also the club’s patron, has apprised acting ZIFA president Gift Banda on the goings-on at the former Premier Soccer League team.
He also met the Northern Region Soccer League (NRSL) leadership and reassured them that the club would continue to fulfil its fixtures.
Masepe, who was co-opted into the ZIFA board last year, confirmed the existence of boardroom squabbles at the club.
“For starters, neither Mayor Mafume nor ZIFA president Banda or even the Northern Region (Soccer League) have communicated to me on the matter,” Masepe told The Sunday Mail Sport.
“In fact, the club’s constitution and football provisions were chewed up and I am wondering why a mere football issue demanded the convening of a special council meeting and generated such hot air, anger and acrimony.”
Article 11 of Harare City Football Club’s constitution expressly states that the patron only acts “as a father figure to the club” whose mandate is “to establish links and networks that benefit the club and enhance its image and standing”.
The club is also considered as a legal persona that is capable of suing or being sued.
Council is only listed as a sponsor with no legal right to intervene in the club’s day-to-day administration.
Given that the club was founded by council employees before evolving into a top-flight side, it is only members – not council – that can appoint or fire the club’s executive, according to the constitution.
The statutes also empower the club’s trustees with disciplinary issues involving the executive committee.
It is also believed that council usurped the executive committee’s powers and sacked the club’s secretariat, which includes CEO Tafadzwa Bhasera and marketing manager Osborne Maranda, and ordered it to stop using Harare House as their offices.
The structure of the secretariat, it is argued, is guided by “frameworks formulated by the PSL, Super League and ZIFA”.
But it appears that the fallout between the Masepe-led executive and councillors is largely centred on the former Dynamos treasurer’s refusal to sanction an AGM in Bulawayo in March.
The club’s AGM is convened by the chairperson and held every year.
Harare City FC held their 2021 AGM on December 23, 2022, and the meeting was attended by the mayor, councillors and auditors.
A strategic meeting was then convened in Mutare on January 28, 2023, with the mayor and councillors also in attendance.
It is Masepe’s contention that the club could not afford an AGM in Bulawayo at a time “when coaches and players have gone for months without salaries and sign-on fees”.
“The Information and Publicity Committee councillors wanted the AGM to be held in Bulawayo from March 15-17, 2023 without fail.
“I argued that we had held our last AGM three months before and the external auditors had not yet completed their audit of the club books for year 2022,’’ he said.
“The club executive committee had not sat to consider the issue of convening this AGM, let alone issue a notice and agenda, so the councillors set the dates for the AGM and the venue despite all these irregularities.
“I told the mayor that I would rather we use the money that was intended for the AGM to pay players’ sign-on fees for 2002 and 2023, procure uniforms and training equipment and items for the club.
“I thought we had understood each other with the mayor and he promised to stop the AGM. “But I was taken aback three weeks later, in April, to learn that the stopping of the Bulawayo AGM in March was only a deferment so as to get a full council resolution to hold it in April 2023, notwithstanding the issues I raised with the mayor.”
He also dismissed allegations of abusing funds personalising the club.
On the other hand, councillors are being accused of pocketing hefty allowances each time they accompany the men and women’s teams on away matches or attend the club’s events.
So far this year, the teams have gone to Mutare, Bulawayo, Masvingo and Kadoma.
However, away from the boardroom wrangles, coach Joseph Takaringofa and his charges have found a way to remain focused.
They are presently on top of the NRSL log standings.