A storm is brewing in local football ahead of the Zifa executive elections after three aspiring candidates, including reputable football administrators Felton Kamambo, Gift Banda and Mlungisi Moyo, were controversially barred from contesting in the December 1 poll by the Zifa electoral committee.
By Munyaradzi Madzokere
The decision by the electoral committee, which met on Friday to vet the nomination papers, means that the incumbent association president Phillip Chiyangwa and his deputy Omega Sibanda, whose tenures constitutionally expired in March, are unopposed.
Kamambo, a former Zifa executive committee member, wanted to challenge Chiyangwa for the president’s post while Banda was vying for the vice-presidency.
According to the letter sent to Kamambo, he was “disqualified for supposedly being improperly nominated”, also noting that he was serving a suspension by the association and that he failed an integrity test.
Banda was similarly said to have been improperly nominated, to have failed the integrity test and to be going through rehabilitation from a previous ban which was however lifted back in 2012.
Kamambo yesterday vowed to appeal against the decision and to take the matter further if his appeals failed.
“I am obviously not happy with this decision and I am going to appeal this decision right away. I cannot fail the integrity test based on mere allegations otherwise no one was supposed to pass that test,” Kamambo told Standarsport.
“And how can Zifa suspend me over such serious allegations and then not bring me before the disciplinary committee only to bring up the story when I have registered my intention to take part in the elections? I can’t understand why they don’t want me to contest. Maybe, they are afraid I will win.”
The disqualified individuals have four working days to appeal against the electoral committee’s outcome.
This is the first time in the history of Zifa elections that there are no challengers for the president and the vice-president’s posts.
A lot has happened which points to Zifa attempts to frustrate Kamambo from contesting in the upcoming executive elections starting from the collection of nomination papers.
He went several times to collect the nomination papers and was told they were not yet ready.
“From my understanding, the election has to be advertised and made public so that those who want to contest can come to get the nomination papers,” said the former Central Region chairman.
“They did not do that and people only got to know when I started going there to look for them. I only got the papers four days before the closing date for submission, which is suspicious.”
Kamambo became Chiyangwa’s “enemy” when he resigned from the board in late March and says he now suspects that the businessman is behind the plot to kick him out of football for good.
In another interesting development, Kamambo had missiles thrown at his car and the windscreen damaged by unknown assailants on the eve of the verification process.
“I don’t know if it’s a mere coincidence or someone was trying to intimidate me so that I withdraw my papers. I was attacked by some people who appeared from nowhere and damaged my vehicle,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment from Banda were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered.
Moyo was disqualified for the reason that he was allegedly improperly nominated.
Chiyangwa and Sibanda have been at the helm of the local football association since December 2015 when they won the mandate to see out Cuthbert Dube’s tenure which was to run until March 2018.
Barring any twist to the election saga, the two will be in charge of Zimbabwean football until 2022.
Among the successful candidates given the green light to participate in the upcoming elections include Sugar Chagonda, Stanley Chapeta, Chamunorwa Chiwanza, Philemon Machana, Bryton Malandule and Barrymore Manandi who are looking to make it into the executive.