By Ricky Zililo
Veteran former football administrators, Ndumiso Gumede and Chris Sambo have called for a reduction in the Zifa presidency nomination fee from $5 000 to an affordable amount to allow credible prospective candidates an opportunity to contest.
Gumede and Sambo were speaking on ZBC radio SFM’s sports programme Grandstand on Wednesday evening.The duo is also advocating for the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) to superintend Zifa’s elections, working closely with domestic football governing body’s secretariat.
Fifa revealed to the media on Tuesday that it had written to Zifa last month confirming the end of its executive committee’s term and ordered that elections be held “as soon as possible”.
The world governing body also stated in the letter that the present Zifa board led by Philip Chiyangwa will continue leading the association until elections are held.
It is this statement that has got critics of the Chiyangwa administration to question the legitimacy of the impending elections. They argue that the executive will interfere with the secretariat’s operations as well as that of the electoral committee in the run-up to the elections.
Gumede, who once served Zifa as chief executive officer and vice-president said: “Even now Fifa have made a terrible blunder by saying Chiyangwa must hold on until elections are held. A little bit of fault should be directed to SRC (Sports and Recreation Commission).
“I know I’m treading on dangerous ground, but SRC has a responsibility to oversee these things and they knew about this problem way back. When I complained about Chiyangwa’s incompetence two years ago I was banned. The SRC must take control; they’ve done well by communicating with Fifa and getting direct feedback from Fifa.”
Ex-PSL administrator Sambo said the Zifa secretariat led by chief executive officer Joseph Mamutse should move out of their present lodgings at 160 Enterprise Road in Harare as it is Chiyangwa’s business complex.
“We have a secretariat in place headed by Mamutse that should put in place all the machinery, all the requirements to ensure that we have a credible election. That secretariat must relocate from operating from Philip Chiyangwa’s offices to either the SRC or somewhere where they can operate independently. They can be superintended by the board, with the SRC overseeing their activities,” Sambo said.
He also concurred with Gumede that the $5 000 nomination fee for Zifa presidential hopefuls paid in the last election was exorbitant.
“The first thing that is an impediment in as far as our football is concerned is the nomination fees. People who do not have that kind of money will not participate in the election. What is happening is that we are closing shop to people who don’t have financial resources and as a result credible people, credible administrators are not being given an opportunity to come into the system,” said Sambo.
Gumede said problems bedevilling Zifa were caused by councillors and made stunning allegations that they were paid to vote Chiyangwa in.
“The problem is the people that voted in persons who did not really qualify according to the constitution. But you can’t just blame people who voted, even the nomination court which should have vetted those persons also created a problem by not noticing that those people did not have the requisite qualifications to stand for positions. Now, it gets exacerbated by persons who willingly admit that they were given money to vote in those persons,” said Gumede.
He said this in reference to Chiyangwa’s football history, which was questioned ahead of the December 2015 elections to choose a person to complete the recalled Cuthbert Dube’s term.
Focusing on the impending Zifa polls, Gumede said apart from scrapping off exorbitant nomination fees, the old guard in Zifa’s structures should not seek re-election.
“We should have competent people at the bottom and not these old men and incompetent persons slightly older than me that are still at Zifa. Let’s let bygones be bygones; let’s start on a fresh page; let’s create a new dispensation.
“If we can disqualify people who’ve been there for more than two terms for instance – I know there are people like Chishanga (Brian) in Midlands; he has been there indefinitely. I found him there and I left him there, but he still continues to be there. Let us try to have new people. My old man Mpuli (David, Zifa Mashonaland East chairman) is still there. They’ve overstayed their time. I don’t know whether they don’t have the Ndebele idiom ‘kusinwa kudedelwana’ (give others a chance). Even if you are a champion, get out and let someone come and dance (because) it’s their turn. This is the only way to encourage young people to come in and make very good councillors,” Gumede said. The Chronicle