By MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) board chairman Gerald Mlotshwa has rubbished reports that he has scores to settle with the suspended Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) board led by Tavengwa Mukuhlani.
SRC suspended Mukuhlani’s committee and acting MD of the association Givemore Makoni after they defied the local sports governing body’s directive not to hold the elective annual general meeting on June 14.
ZC went ahead with the elections in spite of the red flags raised by the SRC and retained Mukuhlani as the chairman.
The sport is already suffering from the effects of SRC’s actions after the International Cricket Council (ICC) froze funding to Zimbabwe a few days ago, leading to the cancellation of the ladies’ team’s tour of Ireland.
Following his suspension, Mukuhlani alleged that Mlotshwa was using his newly-assumed power to settle personal vendettas. Although admitting encountering the cricket administrator in the past, the SRC scoffed at the inference.
“Let’s not reduce national issues to personalities,” Mlotshwa told Standardsport.
“The first and last time I met Mukuhlani was in the presence of his lawyers, with Givemore Makoni also in attendance, when my firm settled the Heath Streak and other cricketers’ claims against Zimbabwe Cricket last year.
“This included the defamation suit brought against Mukuhlani. It was a cordial meeting and Mukuhlani was polite and engaging towards me and my clients. When I was appointed SRC chairman, he was the first to send me a congratulatory letter. So, I don’t despise the man at all, or indeed any of the other suspended directors.”
He added: “The SRC is a national statutory body.
“It has a mandate. In its dealings with the ZC directors, it has simply been carrying out what it is mandated to do.
“It’s nothing personal. There are people on that suspended board I personally know and respect very much, including a fellow legal practitioner.
“None of them, to their credit, has approached me directly to complain at a personal level. And that’s how it should be.”
In the meantime, an ICC board meeting set for July 18 is set to decide Zimbabwe’s fate in international cricket and until then, there won’t be any funding for the association.
It is then that the ICC will consider the terms and conditions on which they are prepared to engage with the interim committee, including the continued funding of ZC’s expenses in light of the suspension of its board.
Violation of membership obligations regarding “government interference” and the consequences thereof will be discussed at the ICC board meeting.
The SRC boss remains headstrong in the decision to suspend the ZC board and replace it with an interim one.
“The outcome of ICC’s board meeting regarding Zimbabwe will not affect in any way the clear resolve of the SRC to deal with the contemptible rot in cricket no matter the consequences,” he said.
“There’s a lot of goodwill and support out there by the public and those that have the best interests of Zimbabwe Cricket at heart.
“Therefore, with or without the ICC’s continued financial support, there is absolute certainty that we will have a properly functional and transparent national cricket association with the right people in charge of administering the game from grassroots, developmental and national levels.”