Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
SOME Highlanders members have castigated club chairman Kenneth Mhlophe for a “reckless and divisive campaign poster” after he appeared to single out one supporters’ chapter chairman and described him as a “recognised” chapter leader.
On the poster that went public this week, Mhlophe, who is seeking re-election in the February 7 vote, wrote: “We did it, let’s do it again. Through the interaction and relations with the chapters, we managed to clear the debt in a campaign led by a recognised leader of a Chapter.”
The statement triggered a backlash from some members and supporters, who felt indirectly insulted, especially when they too have been doing a lot for the club.
They said it was mischievous for Mhlophe to ride on a debt clearance campaign that was never his idea from the word go, but the brainchild of Nodumo Nyathi, who mooted the move well before he became the South African Chapter chairman.
“The truth of the matter, which is also a fact anyway, is that Nodumo’s idea came to fruition when he (Mhlophe) was the chairman, but to say the debt was cleared through his engagement with the supporters chapter is a public lie,” said a member Zwelibanzi Ndlovu.
Other members said the statement by the incumbent was divisive, as it potrayed that other supporters’ chapter leaders were operating illegally and hence not recognised, despite being heavily involved in assisting the club in various ways, such as hosting the club prior to its away matches.
“Those who have helped the club before raised substantial amounts of money for the club, benefactors who have done tremendously for the club, former Highlanders’ players and legends that have served this great club with distinction have never been recognised, let alone honoured. I hope you now know what a recognised chapter leader gets; all others are just useless. There is only one recognised chapter leader and it has surprised many Bosso followers how and why him,” wrote radio legend Ezra ‘Tshisa’ Sibanda on Facebook.
His sentiments were supported by Lorenzo Mgutshini, who said numerous members and supporters have assisted the club before, including meeting the coaches’ salaries, among other things.
“Uyitshaye ekhanda Mdawini, we have people who took care of the first team coaches’ salaries every month and pumped out more than US$45 000, but were never honoured,” wrote Mgutshini.
South Africa-based Faith Silandulo Dube described the identification of one supporters’ chapter chairman as ‘a recognised chapter leader’ as an unstrategic move.
“It’s nonsensical and unstrategic in all sense,” said Dube.
Mhlophe faces the challenge of Bulawayo businessman and farmer Johnfat Sibanda in the February 7 elections that will also see members choosing the club’s secretary-general and committee member.