By Farayi Machamire
Football stakeholders are circling around troubled Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) vowing to challenge the legitimacy of the Philip Chiyangwa-led administration in court if elections fail to take place by March 29, 2018.
This comes as Zifa has allegedly made overtures to world governing body Fifa seeking an extension to their term of office beyond March 29.
With only a month before the end of Chiyangwa’s term of office, Zifa had been expected to have long held their 2017 Annual General Meeting (AGM) which would have ratified an electoral committee to oversee the elections.
The electoral committee should be set up at least six months before an elective congress.
However, against the dictates of the association’s constitution, that election road map is yet to be put in place.
In a stinging letter to the Sports minister Kazembe Kazembe which was also copied to the Fifa general-secretary and ethics committee, former Zifa accountant Fabion Vanganayi pulled no punches.
“Zifa for reasons that I am not clear about, has not carried out their functions in fixing a date for the elections, even as the expiry of congress looms dangerously close. Their inaction will lead to a state where Zifa may, in fact, run unconstitutionally.
“The misleading signals that have been sent by some members of the Zifa executive committee namely Omega Sibanda and Philemon Machana, have been the cause for great concern and may be an indication that come March 29, 2018 an elective congress will not have been called and Zifa will be hobbling along illegally, without a congress,” Vanganayi wrote adding:
“No interpretation whatsoever of the constitution could ever validate the existence of a situation of the executive committee without the congress. Such an unprecedented situation would be a crippling negation of a fundamental tenet of our democracy which is a sine qua non of our constitutional order.”
Vangayi said if elections do not take place by March 29 any continued hold onto office by the current Chiyangwa executive will be illegal.
The Zifa constitution does not provide for an extension of term of office without seeking recourse through elections.
“The court application will only be halted on the grounds that Fifa and SRC appoint a normalisation committee or transitional authority or leaves the running of Zifa in the hands of the secretariat for a limited period of time whilst the preparations and conduct of elections is underway,” Vanganayi wrote
“The secretariat will have to relocate to the neutral offices at the Zifa Headquarters located at Zifa House 53 Livingstone Avenue, Harare, as provided for in Art.”
The Zifa secretariat is currently housed at Chiyangwa’s private property along Enterprise Road, Chisipiti, Harare where a recent audit unearthed that Chiyangwa charges $2 500 in monthly rentals.
That amount was this month adjusted to $6 000.
Chiyangwa will make a total of $420 000 by the time the lease agreement between himself and Zifa expires in September 2021.
Zifa’ latest audited financial results show that the flamboyant president of the country’s supreme football governing body, Chiyangwa, earned $72 000 in 2017 alone by renting out his offices to the association.
Former Zifa Ceo Jonathan Mashingaidze hit out at Zifa.
“Chiyangwa has led Zimbabwe football into a constitutional crisis of the highest proportion and even his allies at Fifa will find it difficult and messy to rescue him especially with Fifa elections set for next year,” Mashingaidze said.
“The clubs have every right to withhold their annual levies for as long the current leadership is in office.
“Provincial associations now don’t have management structures since their terms of office expired this week, beach soccer and futsal are ghost structures. Area zones are on paper, he failed to run women football last year.”
In their defence, Zifa has said they will hold an AGM on February 17, in Harare where congress is expected to ratify the new electoral committee as well as outline the elections roadmap.
At a recent media briefing Zifa board member finance Philemon Machana, said the association was not compelled to hold elections in March, but would hold the polls inside 2018.
“The election road map will be finalised at the AGM. That’s when the electoral committee will be announced and ratified,” Machana said.
“The road map is going to be discussed then and if you go to the electoral code it explains how the electoral committee works.
“The minimum has to be six months after the election of the electoral committee because they need to be in existence for a minimum of six months before they start conducting any election.
“So if they are going to be set up in February it means there have to be a lapse of six months. So the elections cannot be in March.
“Our understanding is that the elections have to be in 2018, not necessarily March. People are just saying March because traditionally the elections are held in March but the constitution doesn’t say March . . . but it has to be 2018.” DailyNews