Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
THE ZIFA elections took a new twist after the association’s electoral committee yesterday gave presidential hopeful Felton Kamambo and two other candidates that had been barred from contesting in the forthcoming poll the green light to participate.
Kamambo, Gift Banda and Mlungisi Moyo had been disqualified after the ZIFA Electoral Committee and the ZIFA Electoral Appeals Committee had noted irregularities in their nomination papers.
However, the ZIFA Electoral Committee chairman, Don Vuma, yesterday announced that the decision had been reversed after his committee reviewed the decisions.
In a statement to the media, Vuma said the decision was reached after his commission noted that the appeals for three candidates were not dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Code.
As a result, the three are now eligible to contest in the ZIFA Executive Committee elections, which brings to a close an election season that began a few months back.
The election for the Executive Committee members will take place this Saturday, while that of the president and vice president has been deferred by a week to December 8.
Vuma also wrote to FIFA yesterday, notifying the global football motherbody of the latest developments. In a letter addressed to FIFA Secretary-General Fatma Samoura, Vuma said the ZIFA Electoral Committee also decided to defer the presidential and vice presidential ballot to next week for the sake of justice.
The letter was also copied to the FIFA Director for Development for Africa and Caribbean, Veron Mosengo-Omba.
“Please note that having received the appeals committee judgments, we the Electoral Committee noted that the appeals were not handled in accordance with Article 12 sub-section 3 of the Electoral Code. As per our earlier assurances that we will abide by the statutes, we deem it necessary from a technical perspective that the appellants be allowed to contest the elections. In the interest of justice, (elections will) therefore be held as follows: Executive Committee members — 1 December 2018, (and) president and vice president — 8 December 2018,” wrote Vuma.
Kamambo is seeking to challenge incumbent Philip Chiyangwa for the position of ZIFA president. Banda has also thrown his name into the hat for the vice presidency against Omega Sibanda.
However, their candidatures, along with that of Moyo, who had filed papers to contest for a place in the ZIFA board, had been rejected by the Electoral Committee on the grounds that there were some irregularities. The decision was rubber stamped by the ZIFA Electoral Appeals Committee which met in Harare last week.
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.
Kamambo and Banda were not satisfied by the rulings and they went on to approach FIFA for intervention. ZIFA yesterday said they reviewed the whole process and allowed the candidates to run for office. Banda yesterday said he was still studying the contents of the decision by the ZIFA Electoral Committee and indicated he still had reservations in the manner in which the electoral process is being handled.
“I was still studying that, I will have an opinion maybe tomorrow. But the funny thing is that the same committee that disqualified us can’t be the same committee that determine the case within two days and the other one within eight days where the constitution is very clear that we were supposed to be given the Electoral College 15 days before an election.
“It’s like they are acknowledging the anomaly that they did in the first place and continuously doing another anomaly.
“That’s why I am saying I was still to apply myself to their latest judgment because we are still holding on to letters that they wrote to us saying that we must not get anywhere near ZIFA,” said Banda.
Kamambo will stand toe to toe with Chiyangwa, while Banda and Sibanda tussle for the vice presidency on December 8.
But the final round of the ZIFA elections begin this Saturday when seven candidates battle it out for the four slots available for the Executive Committee.
The nominees are: incumbent ZIFA board member finance Philemon Machana, media practitioner Barrymore Manandi, public relations executive Sugar Chagonda, businessman Chamu Chiwanza, veteran administrator Stanley Chapeta and ex-referee Brighton Malandule.
The full list of contestants is as follows;
President: Chiyangwa Philip and Kamambo Felton
Vice President: Banda Gift andSibanda Omega
Executive Committee members: Chagonda Sugar, Moyo Mlungisi, Chapeta Stanley, Chiwanza Rodrick Chamunorwa, Machana Phillemon, Malandule Bryton Briton and Manandi Barrymore