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Zifa elections biased

The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) have increased the association’s presidential election fees from $5 000 to $5 500 with the candidates also forking out an additional $200 for the nomination form.

with MICHAEL KARIATI

The truth is that there are a few within the football family with Zifa presidential ambitions who can afford that sort of money. even the $4 000 required to stand for the Zifa vice-presidency or the $3 000 for one to become a Zifa board member is too steep.

Instead of heeding calls that the previous election $5 000 requirement was too much, those in authority have decided to increase the fees, which, observers point out, is meant to keep opposition at bay in favour of sitting president Phillip Chiyangwa for whom $5 500 is mere “pocket money”.

Ironically, only $50 is needed as nomination fees for one to contest as a Member of Parliament in Zimbabwe. Why should one then be made to pay a hefty
$5 500 to contest a voluntary position and for that matter in a sporting organisation?

“The Zimbabwe Football Association has released the schedule of fees that people need to pay in order to run in the Zifa elections. To run for any post in the national executive committee, $200 is needed for the nomination form while $5 500 is needed for the election fee for anyone who wants to contest for the presidency.”
reads a statement on the Zifa website.

The question is: Who is this in Zifa who has set these fees? Isn’t it the same interested people who will be contesting in the polls who have decided on a way to chase away potential candidates?

The truth is that the problem with Zimbabwean football elections lies with the system in place. The system gives too much power to the incumbents to the extent that they can easily manipulate the order to their advantage or dictate terms on how elections should go.

Take, for example, that the Chiyangwa board appointed the Zifa electoral committee. The same board set out the election fees. The same Zifa board also pushed the elections to December, when the polls should have been held in March.

There are outsiders who claim that this was done to give Chiyangwa and his vice Omega Sibanda time to campaign and contest not only in the Zanu PF primary elections, but also in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

The Zifa boss is standing as a Zanu PF candidate for the Zvimba constituency while Sibanda is also a Zanu PF candidate for the Gweru Vungu constituency.

However, who can blame Chiyangwa for taking advantage of a rotten system that has been in existence before he came into power? How many times was the Zifa constitution changed during the Leo Mugabe reign to allow the then president’s nephew to continue holding on to football power?

How many times was the composition of the Zifa Council altered to suit Cuthbert Dube?

Weren’t important football bodies like the Zimbabwe Junior Football Association, the Zimbabwe Soccer Coaches’ Association and the Footballers’ Association of Zimbabwe removed from the Zifa Council as they were deemed an opposition to Dube’s reign?

As long as the system in Zimbabwean football remains as it is, those in power will continue to have the advantage whenever election time comes.

That is the reason why Leo Mugabe was able to stay in power for so long, and the reason why Cuthbert Dube managed to get himself successive terms.

Football leadership elections should be handled by independent people who have no attachment at all to those still in power or those aspiring to get into power.

As things stand, it is advantage Chiyangwa in the December 2018 Zifa elections.

l For your views, comments or suggestions, email mkariati@gmail.com or WhatsApp on 077 3 266 779.

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