Nyore Madzianike Senior Court Reporter
SUSPENDED ZIFA executives, Felton Kamambo and Phillemon Machana, yesterday lost their bid to travel to Qatar to attend a FIFA meeting after the court refused to release their passports.
Kamambo and Machana had approached the court requesting temporary release of their passports and permission to travel to Qatar for a FIFA meeting scheduled for March 31.
They wanted the court to lift a bail condition barring them from communicating with FIFA saying they still had a chance to avert the FIFA impending ban once they attend the meeting.
Harare regional magistrate Mr Stanford Mambanje dismissed the application saying allowing them to travel amounts to allowing them to act as ZIFA officials when they were on suspension.
“The applicants want to travel to Doha for a FIFA conference. Their visit will clothe them with ZIFA jackets,” said Mr Mambanje.
“Aside the issue of suspending bail conditions, the recourse being sought is akin to allowing them to act as substantive members. It will therefore be ironic to say that the accused who are on remand for unlawfully continuing operating as ZIFA executive members, yet they are on suspension, should be allowed to continue acting under the auspices ZIFA.
“Clearly the court is being asked to temporarily withdraw the charges or temporarily remove them from remand.
“This is so because the court is asked to authorise conduct which forms the charge on which the accused are on remand,” ruled the court.
Mr Mambanje said the issue of suspension cannot be dealt through a legal framework.
In an application prepared by lawyer Mr Admire Mr Rubaya, Kamambo and Machana said Zimbabwe was put on the agenda on the March 31 Qatar meeting and the impending ban has adverse consequences to the Football fraternity.
They pointed out that the main reason for Kamambo and Machana’s travel was to go and convince FIFA to understand issues at hand and find a lasting solution.
Mr Rubaya told the court that Kamambo and Machana have since been invited to attend the meeting by FIFA and carries a chance to avert the ban.
“Our application is for the court to suspend that the accused should not communicate with ZIFA and allow them to travel to Qatar a day after tomorrow. We need temporary release of their passports.
“Why we need them to travel is because the nation was hit by a suspension pending an impending ban by FIFA.
“Zimbabwe has been put on agenda and the consequences that come after the ban are adverse,” he said.
Mr Rubaya said the intentions of Kamambo and Mamutse’s travel were not aimed at destroying the future of Zimbabwean football, but to find a lasting solution to the issues troubling the nation’s football.
“As long as they still remain on remand they should be treated as innocent. They should be allowed to serve the football,” he said.
Mr Rubaya said they wrote to the Prosecutor General seeking consent to have some bail conditions suspended.
Kamambo and Machana were barred from acting on behalf of ZIFA as bail conditions on a criminal matter where SRC is the complainant.
“The accused are saying we are prepared to be accompanied by who else from the stakeholders if they fear that they would go and say then ban them. We are putting State into confidence that they can be accompanied by other stakeholders, so that there will be one voice.
“If they are not allowed to travel, then the FIFA ban is imminent,” he said.
Kamambo and Machana said the ban will not affect them only, but also young and promising youngsters whose careers would be crippled.
They pointed out that the ban would affect direct foreign investment from FIFA, which would also stall infrastructural development related to football.
Kamambo and Machana accused SRC of taking their dispute to court describing it as a law fare. The State led by Mr Kennedy Madekutsikwa opposed to the application saying the two should have approached the Administrative Court.
Mr Madekutsikwa said: “The accused are being charged of acting as ZIFA executive at a time when the accused have been suspended from such duties. They are legally represented and believe that it has been proper to instigate proceedings that ensures that the dispute is resolved before the prayer is lodged with this court.
“What makes the accused application problematic is that it has an effect of clothing the court as administrative court. As we speak, the accused are effectively on suspension and if allowed by court to proceed to go and act as ZIFA executives that decision would have the effect of reinstating the accused as ZIFA executive, which is believed is not within the purview of this court,” he said.
The State said it was yet to hear of the outcome of an appeal made by Kamambo and Machana to the Administrative Court.
Mr Madekutsikwa said SRC has since set a restructuring committe that would serve in the function of ZIFA.