Reprieve for suspended Zifa board

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Suspended Zifa president Felton Kamambo

BY Kevin Mapasure
The Zifa councillors who are demandning an emergency general meeting (EGM) that could culminate in the dismissal of suspended president Felton Kamambo and his deputy Philimon Machana, have said that they will patiently wait to have their day.

This was after Fédération Internationale de Football Association (Fifa) blocked the planned meeting which was set for tomorrow, saying the executive committee is the one that should organise that meeting.

The decision by Fifa to block the meeting has given the Zifa board members, who were seemingly on the ropes, some sort of reprieve.

If the meeting had been allowed to go ahead as planned tomorrow, it was likely Kamambo and Machana were going to have their mandate revoked.

They have been accused of among other things misusing COVID-19 relief funds, sweeping sexual abuse allegations under the carpet and turning a blind eye to match-fixing accusations.

The 27 councillors came together to call for an EGM and along the way more threw their weight in the push against the Zifa board members.

With everything seemingly set for the meeting that would have probably seen Kamambo and Machana kicked out, as well as the return of Gift Banda and possibly Chamu Chiwanza, who both were thrown out, a Fifa intervention came at the right time for the embattled duo.

Yesterday, the councillors said they would wait for the prescribed time, but will not entertain correspondence from the Zifa board members who have been suspended by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC).

“After extensive consultation with our members, we are in full agreement that the Zifa constitution is subordinate to Fifa’s constitution, we have noted their input and we will proceed as recommended. What we are happy about is that Fifa endorsed our extraordinary meeting . . . We, therefore, note that the instruction from Fifa demands that we merely wait for the 90 days as noted in Article 28(2) to lapse. As members of Zifa, who are subordinate to the Zifa constitution, we will wait for the prescribed 90-day period to lapse on 3 April 2022,” the councillors wrote in a statement.

On Wednesday, Fifa wrote to Joseph Mamutse, who was suspended by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), advising him that the Saturday meeting could not go ahead.

He was instructed to relay the message to the councillors.

“We recently been informed that on 3 January 2022, some Zifa members have called for an extraordinary congress which is apparently due to take place on 29 January 2022,” wrote Fifa chief member association officer Kenny Jean-Marie in a letter dated January 26, 2022.

“In this respect, we would like to refer you to article 28.2 of the current Zifa statutes (2013 edition) which states that ‘The executive committee shall convene an extraordinary congress if one third of the members of Zifa make such a request in writing. The request shall specify the items for the agenda. An extraordinary congress shall be held within three months of receipt of the request. If the extraordinary congress is not convened, the members who requested it may convene the congress themselves. As a last resort, the members may request assistance from Confederation of African Football (Caf) or Fifa.

“Accordingly, we are of the opinion that Zifa’s executive committee must be given the time foreseen in the Zifa statutes to convene the requested extraordinary congress (i.e up until 3 April 2022) before the Zifa members can lawfully convene it themselves. In other words, we consider that the relevant Zifa members are not entitled to convene the extraordinary congress themselves on January 29, as this would contravene the abovementioned statutory provisions.

“Therefore, we kindly ask you to inform the said Zifa members and the executive committee about the foregoing so as that the relevant measures can be taken on both sides.”

The latest developments have afforded Kamambo and Machana more time to plot their survival as they are still compelled to hold the meeting.

For the councillors, Fifa’s move might look like a temporary set-back, but it might afford the board members enough time to come back strong and consolidate their positions.

Meanwhile, the SRC suspension on the Zifa board, means that the threat of a Fifa ban is still there.

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