BY HENRY MHARA
FIFA has blocked a Zifa extraordinary congress that had been called by disgruntled members of the association and was scheduled to take place this weekend.
The meeting was likely to culminate in the revocation of some of the board members’ mandate.
Felton Kamambo’s board as well as the association’s general-secretary Joseph Mamutse were suspended by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) over a slew of allegations, which they refute.
Fifa had said the planned meeting contravenes the Zifa constitution and should not take place at least on the proposed date.
In a letter addressed to Mamutse, the world governing body said only Kamambo’s board has the power to call for an EGM within three months of request for such a meeting by the members of the association.
The Zifa constitution states that members of the association can call the meeting themselves if the executive committee fails to do so.
“We (have) 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 art.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 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 (ie 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 29 January, 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 that the relevant measures can be taken on both sides.”
At least 27 members of the Zifa congress last month requested for an EGM.
The board is being accused of misusing COVID-19 relief funds, sweeping sexual abuse allegations under the carpet and turning a blind eye to match-fixing accusations, among other transgressions.
Similar allegations were raised by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) which led to the suspension of Kamambo’s board.
Mamutse was also suspended by the SRC but Fifa has refused to endorse the suspensions due to lack of evidence.
SRC suspended the Zifa board on November 17 last year for alleged mismanagement and lack of accountability in the use of public funds, among a cocktail of other misdemeanours.
Kamambo has disputed the allegations saying the action taken by the SRC was tantamount to government interference which invites the full wrath of Fifa.
Fifa, which does not tolerate third party interference in the running of member associations’ affairs, gave SRC a January 3 ultimatum to reinstate the Zifa board and to dissolve a nine-member Zifa restructuring committee that was set by the sports regulator ostensibly to review the national game.
SRC ignored the ultimatum and as a result the country is now facing a ban from international football for an indefinite period.
The Gerald Mlotshwa-led SRC have said it is ready for the consequences that will come with a Fifa bans.