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Philip Chiyangwa accused of bribing and buying votes during the Zimbabwe Football Association presidential elections

TREVOR Carelse-Juul, a former Zifa presidential aspirant, has accused winning candidate Philip Chiyangwa of using dirty tricks to win the elections that ushered him into office last year.

BY DANIEL NHAKANISO

Losing candidate Trevor Carelse-Juul (right) congratulates new Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa after his election victory in December last year

Losing candidate Trevor Carelse-Juul (right) congratulates new Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa after his election victory in December last year

Carelse-Juul recently wrote to world football governing body Fifa accusing Chiyangwa of violating Zifa and Fifa statutes during the 2015 Zifa presidential elections.

The South Africa-based businessman, who was seeking a second tenure as Zifa president, made the stunning allegations in a written submission to Fifa’s development officer for southern and eastern Africa, Ashford Mamelodi, during the latter’s recent visit to the country last month.

Mamelodi was in Zimbabwe last month for a three-day fact-finding mission on the state of football in the country, where he engaged Zifa executive members, councillors, former administrators, the association’s staff and the game’s stakeholders, including creditors.

In the letter dated September 9 2016 and addressed to Mamelodi, Carelse-Juul, through his election agent Stanley Makombe, alleges that Chiyangwa bought his way to the biggest job in Zimbabwean football.

“We appreciate your acceptance to hear submissions from various football stakeholders on the status of Zimbabwe football and we hereby submit our concerns on several violations of Zifa and Fifa statutes during the 2015 Zifa presidential elections that we view as a catalyst to many of the challenges bedevilling the game in Zimbabwe today,” Carelse-Juul wrote.

His camp went on to list some of the alleged violations made by Chiyangwa, which include donations to Zimbabwe’s women and youth teams prior to the elections, as well as alleged bribes and promises he made to the Zifa councillors, who make up the electoral college.

These include:

*Donations of funds to national teams (Mighty Warriors and Young Warriors) and the supporters’ associations by Chiyangwa in October and the beginning of November 2015;

*Intimidation tactics targeted at Carelse-Juul, in which Chiyangwa’s election agent is quoted in the local press threatening to arrest Trevor upon his arrival in Zimbabwe;

*Threatening calls made to Carelse-Juul by Chiyangwa’s supporters, instructing him to withdraw his candidature for Zifa presidential elections or risk being beaten by thugs;

*Declaration by Chiyangwa that he had already won the elections by 46 votes through confirmations of support from the councillors that he mentioned by names and was made through press statements;

*Invitation of all the councillors who cast the vote by Chiyangwa to his manifesto launch, where he provided them with hotel accommodation at Crown Plaza Hotel and paid each councillor an allowance;

*Chiyangwa promised all voting councillors that he would give each a residential stand once he had been voted into office and he wanted each one of them to take a picture of the voting ballot paper to prove that he/she indeed voted for him.

“It is, therefore, our submission that Philip Chiyangwa violated standard Zifa and Fifa rules and regulations and, as a result, did not qualify to contest in these elections and we, therefore, request your good office to intervene as he has violated several laws of the game.”

Carelse-Juul went further to quote sections of the Zifa constitution and Fifa statutes, which his camp alleges Chiyangwa violated ahead of the 2015 Zifa presidential elections.

The recent submission to Mamelodi came after Caresle-Juul had, on December 4, a day before the election, written another letter through his lawyers Mangwana & Partners Legal Practitioners raising similar concerns.

The letter was addressed to then Zifa chief executive officer Jonathan Mashingaidze and copied to the Zifa Electoral Committee, the Zifa and Confederation of African Football Ethics Committees as well as Mamelodi, although no action was taken.

A week earlier on November 30 2015, the three contestants in the Zifa presidential elections had also penned another letter expressing their concerns “at the blatant violation of the Zifa constitution and Fifa statutes by Philip Chiyangwa, which renders the election not fair to all,” the trio of Caresle-Juul, Leslie Gwindi and James Takavada said.

Chiyangwa initially refused to comment on the allegations when Standardsport contacted him, but he called back 30 minutes later to launch a scathing attack on Carelse-Juul.

“Trevor Carelse-Juul is a sore loser. He has been saying this since time immemorial without providing any impeccable evidence to back his claims. These are unsubstantiated claims because he’s out of time, just like during the elections. He came in just before the elections while I’d been campaigning and I was leading in terms of statistics. He even congratulated me after the Zifa elections, but I’m surprised that he’s now making these claims and, after all, why is he making them 10 months later?” a fuming Chiyangwa said.

Chiyangwa was elected Zifa president on December 5, beating his nearest rival Carelse-Juul by 27 votes in a one-sided election held in the capital.

The businessman and politician garnered 40 out of 57 votes, while Carelse-Juul got 13, with Leslie Gwindi managing three votes.

Only one person voted for the former Warriors defender Takavada.

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