The Sunday Mail
IT may not turn out to be the Armageddon but next weekend’s Zifa Annual General Meeting will provide the soccer governing body’s warring factions another platform to take aim at each other.
The build-up to Saturday’s indaba will not be preceded by frightening darkness and rapture.
However, alliances and reassurances will be sought as one camp pushes for early elections and the other battles to maintain the status quo.
The meeting comes eight weeks after an initial one was adjourned as councilors refused to be force-marched into an unduly constituted AGM “by Philip Chiyangwa and his executive.”
December 16, 2017 saw councillors crossing the Rubicon, vowing not to stand akimbo as the Zifa constitution is thrown into the bin.
Two distinct camps have emerged since.
One camp feels Zifa is headed towards a constitutional crisis as the mandate of the current board lapses on March 29, the day Cuthbert Dube was elected into office in 2015.
Dube did not go a full term as he was jettisoned by miffed councillors who went on to give Chiyangwa the mandate to finish off the remainder of the term on December 5, 2015.
This clique argues that elections must be held as soon as possible to avoid a power vacuum and is proposing the amendment of a clause which requires the electoral committee to be in office for six months before getting down to business.
They want Article 4.3 of the Zifa Electoral Code to read: “The Zifa congress shall appoint members of the electoral committee at a properly convened Zifa meeting and they shall take office with immediate effect.”
Led by the Zifa Central Region, the early elections alliance also want Section 10, which requires candidates to submit their nomination papers “at least 30 days before the Zifa congress is held”, to be amended as well.
They want the period reduced to two weeks.
On the flip side, Chiyangwa and his posse insist that the Zifa constitution does not explicitly state when elections must be held.
They argue that they can continue to run the affairs of Zifa after March 29 and confidently claim that even Fifa will be in support of such a move.
“Our understanding is that the elections have to be in 2018, not necessarily March.
“People are just saying March because traditionally the elections are held in March but the constitution doesn’t say March . . . but it has to be 2018,” Zifa board member for finance Phillimon Machana recently told a press conference.
The Central Region claims to have the backing of the Northern Region, a majority of the 16 Premier Soccer League clubs and at least half of the Southern Region councillors. “It’s the politics of numbers and as it stands, the proposals look set to sail through,” said one councillor.
“There are people who are fed up with how the game has been managed and they will use the AGM to express their displeasure.
“They will insist that the terms of all councillors will expire at the end of next month hence elections must be held as soon as possible.
“Look, there is a price to pay for interfering with PSL business, there is a price to pay for trying to influence the Highlanders elections and there is a price to pay for flouting good corporate governance tenants. That price will be paid.”
If the proposed amendments sail through, the election season will start in a fortnight with the Area Zone elections and culminate with the Zifa board elections on June 30.