Petros Kausiyo and Eddie Chikamhi
FELTON KAMAMBO and Gift Banda’s desperate bids to run for office in the ZIFA elections reached a dead end yesterday when the Electoral Appeals Committee upheld earlier rulings by the Electoral committee to disqualify them.
In a massive blow to the pair, which ends any lingering hopes they had of contesting in the December 1 polls, the Appeals Committee chaired by Tafadzwa Mazonde and which included members Tonderai Choga and Herbert Mutasa met and deliberated on their petitions on Tuesday and delivered their ruling yesterday.
The committee then briefed the media at a Press conference at a Harare hotel, with Mutasa reading the verdict on Kamambo while Mazonde announced the judgment on Banda.
Yesterday’s rulings brought an end to Kamambo’s spirited bid to challenge incumbent Philip Chiyangwa for the ZIFA presidency.
Similarly, Banda had been aiming to contest against current vice president Omega Sibanda.
Crucially for Kamambo and Banda is that the decisions of the Appeals committee are final and cannot be contested.
This means the pair would now have to wait for the next ZIFA election to renew their bids to administer the game as president or vice-president.
Yesterday’s Appeals Committee ruling effectively means Chiyangwa and Sibanda will officially be installed for fresh terms at the December 1 polls.
In the wake of the Appeals Committee decision to uphold the disqualifications of Kamambo and Banda, the December 1 voting remains a contest for the four slots available for board member positions.
But it was former ZIFA board members Kamambo and Banda who had hogged the limelight in the last two weeks amid sensational claims by the former that he had sought FIFA’s intervention on his appeal and that the world soccer governing body had upped the ante on the association.
FIFA however, traditionally required that any aggrieved parties should exhaust domestic remedies before rushing to the Switzerland-based body.
The world body also places importance and respect on the use of judiciary bodies of member associations and the Appeals Committee which also included retired High Court judge, Justice Moses Chinhengo is one such body.
The Appeals Committee upheld that Kamambo was not eligible for ZIFA presidency since he was improperly nominated while Banda, who was banned from football in 2013 after he was found guilty in the Centralgate match-fixing scandal, failed to plead his case against the penalty.
Mazonde said the committee had also upheld that Banda should serve his five-year rehabilitation which ends on December 8 before he can enter any ZIFA election.
He said the Appeals Committee went through a painstaking process to arrive at their decision.
Mazonde also confirmed that Kamambo and Banda have reached a dead end in their quest as the decision by the Appeals Committee was final.
“In terms of the electoral code, the decision of the Appeals Committee is final. The only way to remedy is to remedy it is to remedy the issues that we have raised so that in the next election they will then not go without any issues.
“Our role as the Appeals Committee was basically to adjudicate over these appeals. In relation to whether or not the election would proceed, it’s a matter which the ZIFA secretariat should respond to.
“We hope that this (judgment) answers everything and clears the air on a number of issues that have been raised in relation to these appeals and we believe that we have discharged our mandate in the best manner
that we can and in the interest of justice both for our game and even for the credibility of ZIFA itself,” said Mazonde.
Kamambo and Banda had argued that the Electoral Committee had treated them unfairly when they scratched their names from the list of the successful candidates after the vetting process.
Former Central Region chairman Kamambo raised three issues in his grounds of appeal against the Electoral Committee chaired by Vusilizwe Vuma, insisting that his nomination was properly done by the three people of good standing with ZIFA.
He also challenged his suspension by the ZIFA board in April and questioned the legality of the integrity test conducted by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission on the candidates to run for ZIFA office.
Mazonde said Kamambo’s case was dismissed on the basis of his improper nomination.
“In casu, the appellant’s nomination was proposed by three individuals, namely, Sweeney Mushonga on behalf of the ZIFA Northern Region Soccer League, Moses Chikoti on behalf of ZIFA Highfield Area Zone, and one individual whose name is only stated as Alois, purportedly on behalf of PSL.
“It is the proposition by the individual which is the source of contest in these proceedings.
“It is common cause (or ought to be accepted as such) that PSL is not a member of ZIFA, at least going by the definition of “member” as espoused in Article 10 of the constitution…
“I am satisfied that the Electoral Committee was correct in reaching the conclusion that the appellant had not been properly nominated.
“For this reason, this ground of appeal ought to fail,” reads part of the judgment read out by Mutasa.
Banda, who was hoping to stand toe to toe with Sibanda, had said in his grounds of appeal that the Electoral Committee erred in disregarding one of his nominators and in also taking into account his ban in 2013, which he argued was not validated by congress.
However, while some of his arguments held water, the fact that he was banned and was still to complete his rehabilitation put paid to his appeal.
“The nature of this appeal is that if it must succeed, it must do so in whole, not in part. While the committee found merit in some of the grounds of appeal raised, this is not helpful if there are some fatal flaws in the appeal, especially in cases where the Appeals Committee upheld the findings of the Electoral Committee.
“In particular, the appellant must serve his rehabilitation till 8th December 2018. Before such date, any disqualification by the Electoral Committee cannot be altered.
“The appeal is, therefore, dismissed and the appellant’s disqualification by the Electoral Committee is, therefore, upheld and confirmed,” said Mazonde.
The ZIFA election season, which began early this year, will wind up next week with the ushering in of a new national executive to lead the country’s football affairs for the next four years.
Six other candidates will fight for the four slots available for the ZIFA Executive Committee and the nominees are: incumbent ZIFA board member finance Philemon Machana, media practitioner Barry Manandi, public relations executive Sugar Chagonda, businessman Chamu Chiwanza, veteran administrator Stanley Chapeta and ex-referee Brighton Malandule.