Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
POLICE are keen to interview 32 Zifa councillors that were allegedly paid bribes ahead of the 2018 Zifa elections that ushered in Felton Kamambo as Zifa president and Gift Banda as his deputy.
The bribe money totalling just over $8 000 was paid by one of the candidates for the Zifa executive committee post and the suspect (name supplied) has since given a recorded statement to the police in Harare. The official exchange rate then was one-to-one to the United States dollar.
He claimed the money was for “lunch and other incidentals”.
“Had it not been for the lockdown due to Covid-19, we could have covered a lot of ground. These councillors are spread all over. Some are provincial chairmen, others regional chairmen and members of those leagues.
“It’s a shame and from our preliminary investigations those elections were just a farce. One of the candidates, we are told was paying in cash, which makes it difficult to prove, but one councillor is a willing witness,” said a police source.
The source said a total of $8 110 was paid to the councillors via mobile money transfer system, with figures ranging from $400 to $1 700, depending on the influence that each individual councillor was deemed to have.
Three of the “highly influential councillors” who got over a $1 000 each are said to be in Harare, Bulawayo and Matabeleland North provinces (names supplied).
“We have also recorded statements from a former executive committee member, who said procedurally, the association takes care of the candidates’ meals, accommodation and so-called incidentials, so we shall be keen to get clarity on why this individual used his own money,” said the source.
Kamambo stunned then incumbent and businessman Phillip Chiyangwa, getting 35 votes to Chiyangwa’s 24.
Constitutionally, the winner was supposed to garner at least two thirds of the vote, but after amassing 35 to Chiyangwa’s 24, the latter withdrew his candidature just before a re-run was conducted.
Just like Chiyangwa, the then incumbent vice-president Omega Sibanda also fell by the wayside, losing 22-37 to Banda.
Phillemon Machana was the only one re-elected to the board.
New faces elected in those elections were Manica Diamonds secretary-general Sugar Chagonda, Rodrick Chamu Chiwanza and Brighton Malandule.
Chiwanza has since been expelled from the Zifa executive committee after being found guilty of misrepresentation, claiming he possessed eight years of football administration experience.