INCUMBENT Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa has been accused of attempting to meddle in the processes leading to the upcoming Zifa board elections after last week’s controversial attempt to directly influence the outcome of the election process at Premier Soccer League clubs.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The Zifa boss was on Friday forced into a major climb down in the wake of a nasty backlash over his ill-advised move to bar Bulawayo giants Highlanders from holding its elections without the local football mother body’s authorisation.
The move however backfired terribly as it drew fierce criticism from various football stakeholders while the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) ordered Zifa to respect the importance of its affiliate’s constitution as that organisation’s guiding principle.
Zifa had also released another circular ordering all PSL clubs to hold their elections during the same period as the all Zifa members while also bizarrely setting the criteria for potential office bearers at the clubs.
Had Zifa’s plan to influence the Bosso elections succeeded current Highlanders bosses who are known Chiyangwa sympathisers would have remained in office which would have guaranteed the latter the club’s vote during the Zifa elections.
Former Zifa chief excecutive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze told Standardsport that the ill-fated move had exposed Chiyangwa’s brazen attempt to manipulate the appointment of office bearers, who are loyal to him.
“The whole idea was to make sure by the time of the Zifa elections all the clubs would be led by his sympathisers.
Remember during the last Zifa election, most if not all PSL clubs did not vote for Philip Chiyangwa but his opponent Trevor Caresle Juul and that did not go down well with him.
“So the strategy is now to influence the appointment of the leadership at the clubs by micromanaging their elections which is unconstitutional.
“The clubs have their own constitutions which clearly spell out who is a member, how do they have elections and they also have their own nomination courts.
“Basically Zifa has no business telling clubs how to run their activities but should create an enabling environments for clubs to grow through enforcing various progressive initiatives such as the Fifa/Caf club licensing system not electioneering,” he said.
Speaking on condition of anonymity another local football stakeholder told Standardsport that the recent discord yet again showed the dysfunctional nature of the ZIFA Board compromised by a president who has turned his private business premises into the national association’s headquarters.
“It’s another indicator of the dysfunctional nature of the football association. There’s no secretariat to talk about. The excecutive announces things and there are no records of meetings and resolutions, the recent incident being a case in point.
“Right now they have called an EGM on January 20 when they have already given notice of an AGM to be held next month with the same items on the agenda which does not make sense,” he said.
Former PSL general secretary Chris Sambo urgued the incumbent Zifa leadership to ensure that the next elections would be credible.
“It is extremely imperative that we conduct credible elections if we are to receive the support of the corporate world. The corporate world will not partner a product born out of a process that is full of irregularities,” he said.
Sambo said he was aware of an alleged plot to peg exorbitant nomination fees for aspiring office bearers which he said was an attempt to manipulate the prospective office bearers, who will then make up the Zifa electoral college during the board elections.
“We have heard of the plan to set exorbitant nomination fees which will bar competent and good administrators from taking part in the election process,” Sambo said.
“Why should nomination fees for Zifa elections be higher than those for an MP for national elections? It defies logic unless there’s an underlining agenda of wanting to ensure that some individuals that are going to eventually come in unopposed are assisted in as far as paying of nomination fees is concerned by those people who have the financial resources to do so. We will end up with a scenario where candidates are manipulated as their nomination fees would have been paid for by candidates for higher office which makes the whole election process a farce,’ he said.