ZIFA vice-president Omega Sibanda and board member finance Bernard Gwarada were suspended from the national association last night for attending the May 16 councillors’ meeting that ousted president Cuthbert Dube, further throwing Zimbabwe football into turmoil.
BY SPORTS REPORTER
But Sibanda last night dismissed the suspensions as a nullity, saying it was a “non-event and unconstitutional thing pushed by people with a lot of rot behind their backs”.
He said: “Our job is not to suspend people, but to make Zimbabweans united and happy through football. We are going ahead with our football activities as normal and we are going for the Comoros game (Chan qualifier on Sunday) and we will be there.”
The May 16 meeting was later deemed to have been unconstitutional by world football governing body Fifa and Dube, together with Tawengwa Hara and Fungai Chihuri, were reinstated.
Secretary of the councillors committee and Eastern Region chairman Piraishe Mabhena was also suspended last night together with Willard Manyengavana (North), Musa Mandaza (Southern) and Festus Kamambo (Central).
Northern Region secretary Sweeney Mushonga and Matabeleland North provincial chairman Dennis Tshuma were also suspended at the meeting board meeting held at Zifa Village yesterday.
The meeting had been called to discuss the issue of the Warriors and coach Kalisto Pasuwa, but it soon turned out to be a witchhunt to purge those that were involved in the May 16 meeting.
Chihuri proposed the suspension and was seconded by Hara.
Sibanda said he had no hard feelings over the latest developments.
“It’s okay. If they feel football will be better off without us, then let it be. We walk out tall because we know we did nothing wrong in that meeting. I respect where corporate governance is applied. I don’t respect shame to the nation,” Sibanda said.
“Ralph Maganga was the main actor, the chief architect and yet he is not a board member. He was smuggled into the meeting under the disguise of a lawyer, yet he can’t even interpret the constitution and does not know the difference between a member and body.”
Gwarada said last night: “Let’s see how it goes. I will leave it to the football family to decide. If we were failing, then let the public judge. I have no hard feelings. The public will determine issues going forward.”
The fate of the suspended members will now be tabled at the next joint Zifa annual general meeting and extraordinary congress in July for adoption or otherwise after Fifa wrote last week advising of the new developments after Zifa had pencilled it for June 27.
The councillors have planned their own meeting for this Saturday and sources said it will still go ahead with the main agenda, again, to axe Dube, Hara and Chihuri, which could then leave Zifa with no leadership with Mirriam Sibanda, the women football boss, having been suspended last month.
There were indications, though last night, that Sport, Arts and Culture minister Andrew Langa would order the reinstatement of the suspended members or Dube would be axed irrespective of whether Fifa bans Zimbabwe or not.
In its letter last week, Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke wrote to Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze saying the issue of the agenda of the new meeting should be clarified first.
“As you will notice that we advise Zifa to hold a congress in a bit more than a month and ensure that Zifa members, including yourselves, would raise any of their concerns which should be part of the agenda. We are aware of the correspondence and we are confident you agree on this strategy, which ensures that you will be able to table your topic during the AGM. Fifa will attend the AGM as an observer,” wrote Valcke.
“We understand that our recommendation to hold both an extraordinary congress and an ordinary congress on 16 June 2015 could not be implemented and that there had been some confusion with regard to the content of the agenda. We also take note that the Zifa Board decided to hold both ordinary and extraordinary congresses in July or August 2015, including items raised by Zifa members.
“We agree with your proposal which should accommodate the Zifa stakeholders who will have thus the possibility to discuss any of their concerns. Knowing that the first request by the Zifa councillors was made in March 2015 and in order to shorten the 60 days’ notice deadline of an ordinary congress as stipulated in the Zifa Constitution, we suggest that you organise one extraordinary congress whose agenda would consist of topics drawn by Zifa board and topics sent by Zifa members.
“Should you consider our recommendation, you could, therefore, announce the date of the extraordinary congress one month in advance and provide 10 days to the members to send their proposals for the agenda. Zifa would then have a few days to compile the topics and send the formal convocation with the agenda two weeks before the congress in compliance with the Zifa constitution.”