Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
AFRICAN Union Sports Council (AUSC) Region 5 Karate secretary-general Joe Rugwete has promised to decentralise sport by spreading all sporting disciplines across the country if elected Zimbabwe Olympic Committee (Zoc) president.
Rugwete, an ex-Zimbabwe Karate Union boss, is contesting the top Zoc post against incumbent Admire Masenda, perennial campaigner Thabani Gonye and former Young Warriors’ manager Charles Mukaronda.
One of the four candidates will be voted into office for a four-year term at a Zoc elective general assembly to be held on Sunday at Prince Edward School in Harare.
Rugwete said he had identified five aspects to improve at Zoc and they are a “badly written constitution, lack of talent identification programmes, lack of use of sports science across the sport codes, the absence of an Olympic High Performance Centre and centralisation of certain sport codes”.
He said he wants to promote and observe the Olympic Charter in its entirety, the Zoc constitution and Sport and Recreation Act as well as accompanying statutes.
Rugwete views himself as the right person to bring positive changes to Zoc by injecting new ideas.
“Decentralisation is part of the objectives of the Olympic movement of promoting sport for all. Our nation is not sporty.
“We don’t see all sports codes in all provinces and districts. I would like to use the schools’ system to spread sport across the length and breadth of Zimbabwe.
“I will work with all National Sports Associations to ensure we provide coaching expertise in teacher training institutions so that sport spreads as teachers are deployed,” Rugwete said.
On the Zoc constitution, Rugwete said it has clauses that mischievous people can interpret to allow outgoing board members to vote and at the same time makes it clear that outgoing board members cannot vote.
Without highlighting specific sections, Rugwete said: “The constitution does not allow for the dissolution of an outgoing board after it completes its term.
This makes power hungry people cling onto power by claiming they still have voting powers to re-elect themselves into power.
“Issues to do with elections are spread across the entire document. They are under different articles relating to membership, voting, meetings and elections; all with different connotations in terms of interpretation.
“But most importantly, I note that after all is said and done, the spirit of sportsmanship, the spirit of fair play is being violated because the same constitution in one of the very last articles states that it should at all times be in line with the Statutes of the International Olympic Committee, which doesn’t allow outgoing members to vote.
“However, I draw inspiration from the 1980 general elections, which were held in an uneven environment, but that didn’t stop the most popular political party from winning. I am confident that people want to see positive change. I can and I want to bring that change,” said Rugwete.
He also promised to adhere to all the facets of good governance that will develop and win corporate partnerships to help identify and nurture talent for the Olympics.
Rugwete also implored Zoc to develop programmes that propagate a culture of participating in sport for healthy living and general wellbeing of Zimbabweans through physical activity.
He said he would also deal decisively with any form of discrimination, match-fixing and violence in sport.