By Eddie Chikamhi
ZIFA’s boardroom squabbles are far from over after the association’s leaders appealed against the ruling by their disciplinary committee which last week cleared vice president, Gift Banda, of any wrong-doing.
It’s the first time, in the history of domestic football, ZIFA have appealed against a decision passed by their disciplinary committee.
Banda, who was suspended in January last year, just a month after he was elected into office, had been in the cold for more than a year.
However, he was ushered back onto the ZIFA board when the association’s disciplinary committee cleared him of the charges, including announcing the new Warriors technical set-up, without consulting the board.
The disciplinary committee, chaired by Tendai Masawi, exonerated him from allegations of usurping the board’s powers by unilaterally dismissing then Warriors assistant coaches Rahman Gumbo and Lloyd Mutasa.
The committee noted in their judgement that Banda had only recommended but had not effected any dismissals.
None of the officials, who were either dismissed or appointed, received any letters confirming the changes in their status.
However, no sooner had the judgment been handed did ZIFA swiftly lodge an appeal against the ruling by their disciplinary committee.
They noted in their grounds of appeal that:
“1 the disciplinary committee grossly erred and/or misdirected itself when it disregarded all other counts in the charge sheet and only dealt with the aspect of appointment/recommendation.
“2 the disciplinary committee further grossly erred when it did not consider the so-called recommendation as an offence on its own, same was one of the counts on the charge sheet.
“3 the disciplinary committee further grossly erred when it considered the statement of agreed facts which was at variance with the charge sheet minutes of the board and submissions made by the parties.
“4 the disciplinary committee erred and/or misdirected itself when it acquitted the Accused notwithstanding the fact that Accused did not proffer any defence to the charge of threatening another Executive Committee member an issue which was not part of the statement of agreed facts,” read part of ZIFA’s appeal. Banda has been sidelined from football for 14 months after he was suspended in January 2019.
In his absence ZIFA board member (finance) Philemon Machana has been doubling as the acting vice president.
Banda yesterday said he was not keen to discuss the latest developments.
His case has been dragging as he battled to clear his name against the allegations.
The ZIFA board resolved to suspend Banda, accusing him of unilaterally making changes to the technical teams without their input.
Eventually, the matter was finalised last week when the committee sat at Cresta Oasis in Harare and came up with the judgment.
A Harare lawyer, who chose not to be named yesterday saying he didn’t want to be seen to be interfering with the process, said ZIFA had the right to appeal in the event they felt the decision ignored key elements in the charge sheet.
However, he said such an appeal could only be lodged once the board sat, at a duly convened meeting, and agreed to pursue that path.
“What is interesting here is that once the pronouncement was made that Banda had been cleared by the DC (disciplinary committee), he automatically reverted to his role as ZIFA vice-president,’’ the lawyer said.
“Now, any board meeting, where ZIFA had to discuss the decision of their DC, would have required the association advising all members of their executive committee, including Banda, of a notice to have that meeting.
“That notice would clearly spell out that the agenda would discuss the DC decision and, at an appropriate time as provided in the rules and regulations of ZIFA, the meeting would be held. The Herald