Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
FIFA have ordered Zifa to hold elections “as soon as possible”, dismissing the national football governing body president Philip Chiyangwa’s claims that he still has two more years to serve.
In its response to questions sent by Chronicle Sport, Fifa yesterday morning confirmed the end of the present Zifa executive committee’s term of office, revealing that they communicated their position last month.
“We can confirm that Fifa has sent a letter to Zifa on 24 April (2018) informing them that given that the current Zifa executive committee inherited the four-year mandate of the previous executive committee under Mr Cuthbert Dube that began in March 2014, elections of a new Zifa executive committee should take place as soon as possible in accordance with the Zifa statutes and regulations. Consequently and in accordance with article 2 letter C of the Zifa electoral code, the incumbent Zifa executive committee remains until the next election. We have no further comment,” reads Fifa’s response.
The development leaves Zifa’s legal representative Itai Ndudzo with egg on the face, following his protracted arguments that Chiyangwa was given a four-year term when he was voted into office in December 2015 to finish off Dube’s term.
Ndudzo had claimed that there is no constitutional provision for a term less than four years, hence his view that the current leadership will stay in their positions until four years have lapsed.
Two Zifa board members Felton Kamambo and Piraishe Mabhena resigned two months ago, saying the board’s term ended on March 31. Their resignation prevented a constitutionally mandated quorum, leaving the Zifa board unable to transact any serious business.
To cling onto power, the board announced that it had co-opted women’s football chairperson Rosemary Kanonge and PSL emergency committee chairman Kenny Mubaiwa. Mubaiwa publicly turned down the offer, while Chronicle Sport could not ascertain Kanonge’s status.
Fifa’s response seemed to vindicate the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), which wrote to Chiyangwa ordering Zifa to hold elections, as they were constitutionally due.
The SRC and other concerned football stakeholders made up of former Zifa presidents wrote to Fifa highlighting their displeasure at operations of the national association and deliberate flouting of the constitution.
Analysts have welcomed Fifa’s move.
“When Fifa endorses the elections road map, that in itself is acknowledgement that the Zifa executive committee’s tenure is over. This will also open new frontiers in the Zifa crisis, as the following will be interrogated. Who constitutes the electoral committee and what are their credentials? Who conducted the so-called induction of the committee and with whose mandate? Will the elections road map be coordinated from Chiyangwa’s backyard (160 Enterprise Road, Harare) when Zifa has offices?
“The SRC position on the Zifa crisis is still needed by stakeholders since three politicians masquerading as Zifa board members can’t usurp the authority of a football board, which ceased to exist alongside the (Zifa) Congress on March 29,” said an analyst.
Zifa made a somersault yesterday from its long held stance that the Chiyangwa administration should be in office for a full four-year term despite being elected to complete Dube’s tenure that expired in March.
Domestic football’s overseer released a statement on its website advising stakeholders that Fifa “has duly confirmed to both Zifa and the mainstream media in Zimbabwe and South Africa that Zifa elections shall soon be held in accordance with the Zifa statutes, which give full responsibility and authority to the electoral committee duly installed by Congress on the 17th of February 2018. Accordingly, the Zifa electoral committee is presently seized with Zifa electoral processes and shall soon make public the timelines for the holding of elections”.
“Fifa has also duly confirmed that the current Zifa executive committee, led by president Dr Philip Chiyangwa, remains the duly mandated executive committee of Zifa and shall remain in office until completion of the electoral process when winners in the election shall be declared.
“Zifa has in the past months communicated the position as confirmed by Fifa, which is clearly as provided in the Zifa constitution and the electoral code. It is noteworthy that notwithstanding the clear provisions of the Zifa statutes, there has been relentless attempts by failed and banned former football administrators and other well-known imposters to author chaos and confusion by making baseless allegations against the Zifa executive committee and by seriously misrepresenting provisions of the Zifa constitution,” read the Zifa statement.
However, a football administrator blasted Zifa for trying to distort Fifa’s response.
“The letter from Fifa is a welcome development, as it clarifies the issue of the terms of office of both the affiliates and the executive committee. But the problem is that Fifa are allowing people to flout the Zifa statutes by allowing a three-member group to run the association when they form no quorum. You also ask yourself what’s the wisdom of (Zifa) releasing a press statement two weeks after Fifa responded. Were they trying to doctor or spin the Fifa response?” asked the administrator.
A Zifa board source said the electoral committee met last week and will hold another meeting on Friday to set the election road map.
“The bosses have made an about-turn and are moving towards having the election road map set after the Fifa response. What might delay the process is that they are looking for funds,” said the source.
Ndudzo is expected to release a statement on elections soon.