Zifa and Cosafa president Philip Chiyangwa was yesterday humiliated after the association’s councillors, who make up the electoral college, fiercely resisted his efforts to go ahead with an improperly convened annual general meeting (AGM) at the Yadah Hotel Complex in Harare.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
Chiyangwa had attempted to go ahead with the general meeting which was meant to rubber-stamp former Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze’s life ban from football activities even though due process was not followed in the convening of the meeting.
Mashingaidze, who served as Zifa general secretary from 2004 to 2016, was handed a life ban by Zifa on counter accusations of fraud during his tenure after he claimed Chiyangwa was allegedly guilty of corruption.
According to Article 26 (2) of the Zifa constitution, “the executive committee shall fix the place and date. The members shall be notified in writing at least 60 days in advance”.
This was, however, not done as the beleaguered Zifa executive committee only issued the notice of yesterday’s scheduled AGM on November 22 — 18 days before yesterday’s meeting.
In fact, the notice was only issued after Mashingaidze had started spearheading a campaign for the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) to investigate Chiyangwa, amid allegations of “corruption, fraud and misappropriation, abuse of power, misconduct and lack of good corporate governance.”
Last week Zifa attempted without success to persuade world governing body Fifa to recognise the illegal AGM, but the latter’s manager development programmes Africa, Solomon Mudege argued that the meeting had to be “in line with Zifa statutes”.
“We have taken note that the Zimbabwe Football Association will organise its annual general meeting on December 16 2017. If all Zifa members have been notified of this meeting in line with the Zifa statutes, then please proceed with the annual general meeting,” Mudege said in the letter dated December 12 seen by Standardsport.
Despite the clear warning, Zifa attempted to go ahead with yesterday’s meeting, with its general secretary Joseph Mamutse last week circulating a 20-item agenda.
The local football governing body yesterday said the meeting had been adjourned to a later date next year.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association general assembly’s annual general meeting held on December 16 was adjourned to a later date next year. Members of the Zifa council proposed and agreed that a fresh notice will be circulated for an AGM to be held in February 2018, where issues on the adjourned meeting’s agenda will [be] deliberated on,” Chiyangwa said in a statement.
The beleaguered Zifa boss also added that the association had initiated legal processes “to compel the previous executive committee to amortise the over $7 million debt which they recklessly incurred during their term of office.”
While Chiyangwa was facing a rebellion from the association’s assembly, his adversary Mashingaidze hit back at the life ban imposed on him by reporting Chiyangwa to the Fifa Ethics Committee.
Mashingaidze last week laughed off the punishment by the Zifa board as the “joke of the year”, claiming the charges against him had been fabricated and threatened to further expose dirty tricks within the association.
Yesterday Mashingaidze, who has been a fierce critic of the Zifa boss, wrote to the Fifa Head of Ethics Gautier Aubert accusing Chiyangwa of “corruption, vote-buying, bribery, abuse of office, general corruption and mismanagement of football affairs in Zimbabwe…”
Mashingaidze’s damning nine-page dossier focuses on seven main points which include the pre-election period, 2015 Zifa elections, (Chiyangwa’s) qualifications, intimidation, bribery, vote-buying, abuse of office, fraud, corruption, mismanagement and harassment.
The former Zifa chief executive alleged that Chiyangwa should have never been allowed to contest in the December 2015 Zifa election as he did not have the requisite qualifications to run for the Zia presidency.
“Mr Chiyangwa, according to records at hand, had never been involved in association football all his life prior to December 2015. He had never even run a social team. He did not have the remotest contacts with Zimbabwean football until his dramatic entry into Zimbabwean football in 2015,” wrote Mashingaidze.
“Records to that effect are available. Mr Chiyangwa also presented false football credentials to the Zifa electoral committee claiming that he had been part of the Futsal family in Zimbabwe.
“For the Fifa Ethics Committee’s record, Mr Chiyangwa, whose academic qualifications and literacy level is questionable, had no idea, prior to the Zifa elections, what Zifa, Cosafa, CAF and Fifa stood for. He did not even know how many players constitute a football team,” Mashingaidze said.