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Chiyangwa, Chiwanza in FIFA appeals

COSAFA president Philip Chiyangwa has escalated to the Fifa corridors his battle against a life ban imposed on him by Zifa, with the Harare property mogul arguing that in fact, it is the Association that has transgressed the world soccer body’s statutes.

ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa
Former ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa

On Friday, Chiyangwa sent a 15-page letter addressed to the Zurich-based body’s secretary-general, Fatma Samoura.

ln challenging the legality of the ban imposed on him, the former Zifa president cited procedural flaws, including the fact that he was not tried by any of the Association’s judicial bodies.

Read the letter in part: “I write to draw the attention of your esteemed office to extremely disturbing developments emanating from the Zimbabwe Football Association, which is a duly admitted member of Fifa.

“I have found it compelling to directly address your esteemed office in light of the gross violations of both Fifa statutes and Zifa constitution being wilfully perpetrated by the current Zifa officials who have unconstitutionally constituted themselves as a management committee.

“While on the surface the malicious actions of this illegal committee may appear as personal attacks on me, it is clear that the totality of the actions emanating from them are fast tracking Zimbabwean football into the dark days of maladministration, financial embezzlements, constitutional violations and other undesirable elements.

“You will note that the letter (on the life ban) does not at all mention the specific body of Zifa that is alleged to have arrived at such a decision.

“The bodies of Zifa are outlined in Article 19 of the Zifa constitution. You will note that the letter does not at all state that the purported decision to ban me was arrived at in accordance with due process.

“There is no mention at all of the involvement of any judicial body in the alleged ban. At law, the letter is null and void as it communicates a nullity,’’ said Chiyangwa.

Chiyangwa also argued that a decision to ban him from association football ought to have been passed by Congress after first going through a judicial body.

However, there has not been any Zifa assembly meeting since their April indaba in Harare.

“The communication purporting to ban me epitomizes a serious lack of understanding the application, limitations and interpretation by Zifa football statutes. Article 36 of the Zifa constitution exclusively reserves the power to dismiss a person to the congress of Zifa.

“It is common cause that there was no Zifa Congress on the 9th of August, 2019.”

In the same vein, board member Chamu Chiwanza, who was expelled from Zifa last week, also took his appeal to Samoura’s desk.

Wrote Chiwanza: “I wish to bring to your attention the corrupt, unethical and unconstitutional conduct and utter disregard of Zifa statutes by some self-serving members of the current Zifa Executive Committee advancing their personal interests at the expense of football administration in Zimbabwe.

“To bring you into perspective, I wish to recall the chain of events that have triggered my course of action in approaching your esteemed office in order to save Zimbabwean football from certain individuals who consider the Association to be their personal property.

“On a late Sunday evening of the 9th of June 2019, I received an email letter from the current Zifa general secretary, Mr Joseph Mamutse, informing me that I was being invited to a meeting on the 11th of June 2019 with the ‘Zifa Ethics Committee: Investigatory Chamber’ in respect of allegations raised against me by a certain Mr Chapeta. I hereto attach a copy of the letter as Annexure 1.

“Notwithstanding the very limited time I had been afforded to prepare myself for this purported meeting by the so called ‘Zifa Ethics Committee: Investigatory Chamber’, I immediately wrote to the general secretary the following day, requesting to be furnished with details of the ‘Zifa Ethics Committee’ panellists and the applicable ethics code. I hereto attach a copy of my correspondence as Annexure 2.

“The reason why I wrote to the general secretary requesting such details is because, to my knowledge, there has never been an Executive Committee meeting or Zifa Congress meeting where members of the so-called ‘Zifa Ethics Committee’ were appointed.

“Moreover, the Zifa Congress has never approved the use of an ethics code, if any at all. It therefore follows that I was being invited before a group of nameless people with no standing or status in Zifa, applying a document unknown to the Association.

“The response by the general secretary to my correspondence reeked of malice and bad faith, with no regard at all for due process and transparency. In his response, he conveniently ignored my request and further reemphasized the purported proceedings would commence in my absence.

“Suffice to mention that at this point in time, the general secretary was still to furnish me with the documents I had requested in order for me to adequately prepare for the meeting,’’ wrote Chiwanza.

However, Zifa, through acting vice-president Philemon Machana, yesterday insisted that in imposing the sanctions on Chiwanza, they had acted above board.

“It is interesting to note that Mr Chiwanza has not bothered to explain in black and white if indeed during the Zifa elections he fraudulently misrepresented that he had gained eight years football administration experience from my club, which is called Conduit Soccer Academy, and without my knowledge.

“Up to this day, he skirts around the issue and avoids the simple question. The fact is that as proprietor of the club, l am not aware that he was a member of the club. The case starts and ends there.

“In his nomination form, he lie that he had eight years’ experience gained from my club. All other high sounding words mean nothing. Mr Chiwanza is a football fraud and was found guilty of this by an independent judicial body.

“As has become his style, he even lies that an ethics committee was never appointed, yet in the Zifa Exco and Congress minutes, it is all captured.They were appointed by Exco and installed by Congress. And Mr Chiwanza attended those meetings,’’ said Machana. The Sunday Mail