By Godknows Matarutse
In another embarrassing episode, the gaffe-prone Zifa secretariat is in the eye of a storm for handing out a Zifa congress register with wrong contact details of the voting college.
In an unprecedented and shocking development, Zifa chief executive Joseph Mamutse in his wisdom or lack of it chose to circulate a list with false phone numbers of the 58 voting delegates.
The elections are taking place this Sunday in the capital with incumbent Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa going up against former board member Felton Kamambo.
Zifa vice president Omega Sibanda will have to face the challenge from former Premiership side Njube Sundowns owner and director Gift Banda.
There are at least six candidates vying for the four available board positions in these upcoming elections.
Current Zifa board member for finance Philemon Machana will battle it out against Stanley Chapeta, Sugar Chagonda, Chamu Chiwanza, Mlungisi Moyo and Brighton Malandule.
According to the register list seen by the Daily News and circulated to the Zifa candidates, there are instances where certain individuals’ phone numbers are totally wrong.
In other instances, different individuals’ phone numbers are duplicated much to the disbelief of vying candidates.
There are at least 10 wrong numbers from the total 58 which is close to 20 percent of the voting college.
Some candidates expressed frustration as they tried in vain to get hold of some of the delegates in order to present them with their manifestos and other election related material ahead of Sunday.
The development has since raised questions on whether the secretariat will do justice to the election that has seen many controversies.
“You begin to wonder whether this was a genuine mistake or there was a motive behind the errors,” said one of the candidates.
“Zifa has been preparing for these elections for a very long time; the very least they could have done was to verify these contact details before handing out the register.”
Another candidate said: “If Zifa has wrong contact details of the voting college, how will they contact these people to make sure they attend Sunday’s elections?”
Zifa communications manager Xolisani Gwesela was at pains to explain the secretariat’s gaffe.
“Those contacts came from the Premier Soccer League, we got them like that and just forwarded as it is. But I don’t think it’s a big deal though because what is important are the names. People change numbers sometimes,” Gwesela said.
“Those numbers that were duplicated were corrected. People do make mistakes, probably it was a typing error which was rectified and a correct register was sent to all candidates.
“Where candidates have been having challenges, they have been calling us and we made efforts to get alternative numbers.”
The Zifa secretariat has already been chastised for their conduct in the run-up to Sunday’s elections.
Earlier on, some candidates were sent from post to pillar in their quest to secure nomination papers by the Zifa offices bearers.
The candidates finally secured the nomination papers from the Zifa offices after making a lot of noise in the media and seeking recourse from the Electoral Committee.
More drama was to follow when Kamambo, Moyo and Banda were disqualified by the Electoral Committee
The trio successfully filed their notice of appeals on November 5 but the Zifa secretariat sat on the papers.
According to the Zifa Electoral Code, once an appeal is launched, the Zifa secretariat must forward it to the Appeals Committee within four days.
However, Zifa Appeals Committee chairperson Tafadzwa Mazonde revealed they were only made aware of the trio’s appeals on November 20.
“..The secretariat should have presented the appeals expeditiously before the Appeals Committee; this is a cause of concern which we have highlighted in terms of our judgements,” Mazonde said.
“From our assessment, we have actually raised concern that the appeals were not timeously placed before this committee.” DailyNews