Kiss of Death: Mhlophe loses Highlanders elections after picture with ED
By Keith Mlauzi | Nehanda Sports |
In what Professor Jonathan Moyo described as a “kiss of death” incumbent Highlanders Football Club chairman, Kenneth Mhlophe, who recently presented President Emmerson Mnangagwa with a framed personalised Highlander’s “ED 9” yesterday lost a bid to retain his position.
Mhlophe, a former Zimbabwe National Army colonel, was trounced 154 votes to 149 by challenger Johnfat Sibanda.
“Truth be told, this ain’t news for Highlanders fans BUT a kiss of death of the (sic) “Executive” of @HighlanderBosso & their Gukurahundi Guest,” wrote Professor Moyo on his Twitter handle a few hours after Mhlophe had presented Mnangagwa who is associated with the early eighties Gukurahundi massacres that took place in Matabeleland and the Midlands.
Moyo, who is critical of the establishment, was responding to a comment by Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba who had taken to Twitter after Mnangagwa was presented with a soccer jersey.
“Great news for Highlanders fans: Before leaving Bulawayo, the President, Cde ED Mnangagwa, hosted the Executive of Highlanders Football Club at Bulawayo State House,” wrote Charamba on his Jamwanda Twitter handle.
Highlanders is culturally associated with Matabeleland having been founded by king Lobhengula’s son. The team draws its support from all sectors of Zimbabwe’s society although its support is heavily pronounced in Matabeleland and the Midlands province.
Concern has been raised by some Highlanders supporters over Mhlophe’s association with Mnangagwa who was Minister of State Security during the Gukurahundi massacre, which some claim to have been a genocide.
One Highlanders supporter Mandla Ndlovu believes that Mhlophe’s loss was “good riddance” because he “disrespected our feelings about Mnangagwa.
“It is important to be sensitive to how we feel as a people. Mnangagwa should not be allowed to ride roughshod over us,” said Mandla.
Sibanda claimed victory on Sunday after over 300 Highlanders club members participated in the election. He outplayed Mhlophe with a difference of 5 votes. He got 154 votes while Mhlophe got 149.
In the race for the club’s secretary general, Morgan Dube polled 212 to incumbent Israel Moyo’s 91, while Mgcini Mafu scored 176 votes against Bheka Sibanda for the position of committee member.
Insiders say that since Highlanders has been struggling financially, Mhlophe had used the meeting with ED to request for government’s help in getting required machines to use for a mining claim which was granted to the club.
Mhlophe’s actions were met with backlash from fans and members of the football club who probably felt he had allowed the club to be captured by Mnangagwa and the ZANU PF government.
Meanwhile the new executive, which is expected to assume office with immediate effect, will start planning for the Premier League which begins as soon as the government eases measures enacted to control COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Nehanda Radio