Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kazembe Kazembe has implored warring ZIFA and the Sports and Recreation Commission to end their public fallout over the association’s election roadmap and engage in dialogue with a view to finding lasting solutions to their differences.
This follows Kazembe’s meeting with the Sports Commission and ZIFA heavyweights at his offices yesterday morning, with the three parties understood to have agreed to keep a tight lid on what transpired during the indaba.
While Kazembe has embarked on a diplomatic offensive to ease tensions between the Sports Commission and the leadership of the country’s flagship sport, a seasoned sports administrator and 2017 Zimbabwe Olympic Committee presidential aspirant Charles Mukaronda lashed out at the supreme sports body’s bid to “rush to intervene in the ZIFA election processes”.
Mukaronda, who last year, petitioned the Sports Commission to intervene in the build-up to the ZOC elections after noting some constitutional flaws in the Olympics body’s electoral process, said the pace and determined manner with which the commission sought to intervene in the ZIFA affairs raised eyebrows.
The former Young Warriors manager, who contested the elections eventually won by Admire Masenda, accused the Sports Commission of “selective application of the law”.
“I have been following with interest the developments between ZIFA and the SRC and I would want to ask why they (Sports Commission) are coming down to intervene in the ZIFA issues?
“It is unfortunate that there is selective application of the law here. We would expect the SRC to apply the same zeal they have shown in the ZIFA issues to everything that is brought before them.
“I find it very curious that they now have a sudden interest in ZIFA. For the ZOC elections, Muchechetere was aloof and a bystander, yet there were glaring constitutional flaws and the SRC could have intervened.
“We raised the red flag, but still there was no action from the SRC and now it raises a lot of stink when one looks at the zeal with which SRC have become an interested party in the ZIFA elections issue,” Mukaronda said.
He said it was imperative that the Sports Commission consulted widely on the ZIFA constitution before taking a position.
“Organisations are not run on populism. Any constitution is based on what the articles say, what is on the small print that is in black and white which others may choose to call technicalities.
“So if anyone is of the view that Philip Chiyangwa has overstayed, they know the route to follow to recall him and that route is provided for in the constitution.
“Those claiming (that) Chiyangwa must go after two years is the same entitlement that Chiyangwa also has to claim his power as enshrined in the constitution.
“If what I have read from the ZIFA constitution is true, then Joseph Muchechetere is offside. His pot-shot on ZIFA is misplaced and he should have consulted widely before rushing to make public pronouncements because it may leave him with a lot of egg on the face,” Mukaronda said.
Mukaronda also noted that it was imperative that the Sports Commission and all followers of the game understood that the ZIFA Assembly were the only institution that was constitutionally empowered to give a ZIFA president a mandate to rule.
“Philip Chiyangwa has got his case and he should run his full course and if there are councillors vying for an election to take place earlier, they would have to follow the statutes and recall him the way Cuthbert Dube was recalled, which was constitutional unless if you are telling us now that there was a third force trying to push them.
“However, I am a bit wary about the very term of office for the councillors if it has expired, maybe there will be elections, but even if there are no elections for the councillors too, I don’t think there can be a leadership vacuum.
“So without any prejudice, my view is that the ball is in Chiyangwa’s court in this whole matter,” Mukaronda said.
Kazembe, in confirming the meeting, however, revealed that he had ordered the two warring bodies to a round table to resolve the sticking points on the ZIFA election issue that spilled into the public domain at the weekend.
Kazembe, however, felt it would be premature for the parties involved to discuss their deliberations, at least, until after both the Sports Commission and ZIFA had finished their round of talks.
“Nothing much that I can say . . . I simply asked them to have a dialogue and find each other for the sake of the nation.
“I would rather we complete the process of dialogue that we have initiated before making public comments. We should be done in a couple of days. What we want is an amicable solution in the interest of sport. We owe it to the nation,” Kazembe said.
Both the Sports Commission and ZIFA emerged from the meeting with tight lips amid revelations that Kazembe had also directed them to “not only stop their public spats, but desist from commenting on the matter”.
Sports Commission acting director-general Joseph Muchechetere, who has been issuing statements since the weekend, said the ministry will now issue policy statements on the issue.
Chiyangwa also only confirmed attending the indaba, which he described as fruitful, but referred “all questions to the minister”.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Southern Region Area Zones, Chris Mtungwazi, threw their backing behind Chiyangwa.
“We support what the president is saying regarding their term of office and we hope this dispels the myths that have been created about the operations and functions of our constitution as ZIFA and all the elected bodies,” he said.
“Let it be clear that the constitution and our Electoral Code cannot be manipulated by individuals who want to settle their scores and the code says clearly that until it says otherwise, those who would have been elected remain in charge.”