THE Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) stood its ground and ordered Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) to further reduce election nomination fees which they described as “prohibitive” in a heated meeting held in the capital on Friday.
BY STAFF REPORTERS
Zifa had on Thursday cut the nomination fees for March’s board elections for the presidency from US$7 500 to US$5 000.
However, SRC has maintained that the fees are still beyond the reach of many who would want to contest.
This will be the third time that the football governing body would be sent back to the drawing board to look at their fee structure that started at a shocking US$10 000.
The newly-established independent sports ministry has also added its voice to the growing chorus of disapproval to the nomination fees which they deem as a plot by the current Zifa office bearers to shut out other aspiring candidates.
After Friday’s meeting SRC director-general Charles Nhemachena is optimistic Zifa would this time around draw up reasonable figures.
“They [Zifa] presented their budget to us which had recent figures and their justification to the figures,” Nhemachena said.
“We assisted each other in identifying areas that need attention. I can give you a good example; where they had indicated that security needed about US$96 000 and forking out something like US$75 000 for ballot papers. That needs to be trimmed down.”
Nhemachena added that Zifa’s defence for the high fees was that they wanted the elections to be self-funding unlike the last election when they were left in great debt after the polls.
“We really appreciate that they want the elections to be self-funding. We also understand that last time Zifa got into a big debt after the 2010 elections, but these figures defeat the cause of a democratic election, there is no level playing ground here,” he added.
Zifa are saying the election fees need to cater for accommodation, communication, stationery, transport and remuneration of the Electoral Committee members.
In their last letter to Zifa, SRC had ordered Zifa to revert to 2010 election fees, but Nhemachena said they had now given them the leeway to make reasonable adjustments.
“We are very much aware that the 2010 election structure is no longer in sync with the current economic situation but the additions must be reasonable,” he said.
In other countries, candidates do not pay anything to contest in football elections.
South Africa Football Association (Safa) spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi said no money was needed from candidates in the last elections that ushered Danny Jordaan into office.
“No nomination fees were paid. It was for free,” said Chimhavi.
In England, the chairmanship of the Football Association (FA) is not contested for but appointed in a rigorous process.
The FA Group assistant secretary Richard McDermott told Standardsport that there was no money required from candidates in this process.
“The FA Board comprises different categories of directors who are appointed in different ways. There are no fees involved as it is a recruitment and appointment process [as with a job] rather than an election,” he said.
“The process for appointing the Chairman of The FA is that we advertise the position in national media. A nominations Committee of the FA Board then shortlists and interviews candidates and then makes a recommendation to the Board. If the Board approves the nomination, the candidate is put forward to The FA Council to be appointed.”
Football Association of Zambia president Kalusha Bwalya said, “I am not at liberty to comment on issues involving other countries.”
Charlie Jones and Leslie Gwindi have reportedly shown interest in challenging incumbent Cuthbert Dube who is seeking re-election for a second term.
Efforts to get a comment from either Dube or CEO Jonathan Mashingaidze were fruitless.