BY FORTUNE MBELE
AS the purge of perceived malcontents in the country’s football administration continues, the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) has targeted 23 Zifa councillors for suspension for allegedly admitting to taking bribes in the ongoing trial of Zifa president Felton Kamambo.
Six of the councillors — Nkosilathi Ncube, Rogers Masuku, Patrick Hill, Andrew Tapela, Francis Ntuta and Stancelous Nyachowa, were, however, recently absolved by the magistrates’ courts and may use that as an escape route as they have until Friday to respond to the SRC before the sports regulatory makes its final decision.
The 23 councillors testified in a case in which Kamambo was accused of bribing his way to the Zifa presidency in 2018.
The SRC has listed 23 councillors it intends to suspend, who include Ncube, Masuku, Hill, Tapela, Ntuta and Nyachowa.
In the letter addressed to Zifa acting chief executive Xolisani Gwesela, SRC acting director-general Sebastian Garikai said they were acting on statements they received from the police, but those may be superseded by the courts’ decision.
“We are in possession of various statements compiled by the Zimbabwe Republic Police for use on the on-going criminal trial of Zifa president, Felton Kamambo. In all of these signed statements, the Zifa councillors, copied in this correspondence, all admit to receiving inducements in one form or the other from the above accused person, as well as other candidates running for office during the December 2018 Zifa elections. In terms of section 30 of the Sports & Recreation Commission Act, notice is hereby given to the association by the commission that it intends to suspend from office all of the Zifa councillors copied in this correspondence,” Garikai said.
“The reason for the intended suspension is that each or all of them have admitted to accepting an inducement, by whatever name, from contestants to an electoral process, especially the current president of Zifa. Each of these councillors is hereby requested to show cause as to why the SRC should not suspend them from office for the reasons aforesaid.
“They have until Friday, December 24, 2021, 12 noon, to respond directly, in writing, to the SRC in respect of the show cause request. Thereafter, the commission shall proceed to pronounce its final decision on the matter. Your urgent assistance in making these correspondences available to the councillors would be most appreciated.”
The entire Kamambo-led Zifa board was suspended by the SRC last month and the sports regulatory authority has since appointed a re-structuring committee, which is led by chairman Blessing Rugara and comprises Tommy Sithole, Anna Mguni, Joyce Kapota, Charles Sibanda, Joel Gombera, Brian Moyo, Desmund Ali and Rudo Mugandani.
Gwesela is the acting chief executive, taking over from Joseph Mamutse and the secretariat is currently running football affairs, with coach Norman Mapeza taking the Warriors to the Afcon finals in Cameroon next month.
The full list of the councillors set to be suspended below:
Thomas Marambanyika, Pithias Shoko, Nkosilathi Ncube, Doubt Ncube, Stanley Chapeta, Pervious Mathe, Patrick Hill, Dennis Tshuma, Mhloro Tavaziva, Stanslous Nyachowe, Edward Chekure, Olivarth Guvuriro, Tafadzwa Mujuru, Givemore Chidhakwa, Brenda Gorejena, Andrew Tapela, Francis Ntuta, Mehluli Thebe, Artwell Moyo, Beaullar Msarah, Kudakwashe Chisango, Kudakwashe Remba and Ropafadzo Matemavi