Source: Editorial Comment: Kirsty Coventry football’s last hope – The Standard Nov 4, 2018
The disqualification of Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) presidential aspirant Felton Kamambo has exposed the rot in Zimbabwe football’s electoral system where those in power can manipulate the order and dictate terms on how elections should be run.
The fact that the Zifa Electoral Committee did not clearly specify reasons for disqualifying Kamambo from the Zifa presidential race suggests that there was opaqueness in the manner in which the whole matter was handled.
Questions are being raised as to the connection between the Zifa Electoral Committee and the other interested Zifa presidential candidate, Harare businessman Phillip Chiyangwa.
What is ironic is the fact that it is Chiyangwa who appointed this Vusi Vuma-led Zifa Electoral Committee whose actions have landed him the Zifa presidency uncontested.
There is every reason to smell a rat in this whole matter, and worse, when another of Chiyangwa’s close associates, Chamu Chiwanza, is allowed to contest for a Zifa board member position despite the fact that he does not have any football background.
If it were in another country, this whole matter would have warranted an investigation; but not in Zimbabwe where the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) is a toothless bulldog, only there to make promises, but not take action.
Since its birth through an act of Parliament in 1990, the SRC has failed to deal decisively with football problems and despite many commissions of inquiry into football matters, the SRC has come up with no concrete decision.
The Zifa elections, now set for December 1, were supposed to have been held way back on March 30, but Chiyangwa held on to power and extended his reign by a whole eight months and the SRC just sat and watched.
The Zifa Elections Committee should have been an independent body appointed outside the parameters of the Zifa board, but the SRC allowed interested Zifa board members to appoint that powerful committee.
Before that, the SRC in 2015 allowed Chiyangwa to contest the Zifa presidential elections despite an outcry over his eligibility, especially that he did not have the requisite five-year football experience.
Now Chiyangwa is at the helm and the Harare businessman appears to be having his way while the SRC looks on helplessly. With Omega Sibanda and Philemon Machana under Chiyangwa’s armpits and Chiwanza soon coming on board, Zifa now stands at risk of becoming Chiyangwa’s personal fiefdom and that will not be good for the game of football.
Perhaps, the newly-appointed Sports minister Kirsty Coventry should flex her muscle and step in to save football from the disastrous path it has taken.
A close look at the forthcoming Zifa elections and, more importantly, events in the run-up to the polls should be the minister’s starting point.