Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Acting Sports Editor

ON January 17 last year, Zifa president Felton Kamambo announced to the world the suspension of Gift Banda from the vice presidency post following a decision by the executive committee.

The censure of the Bulawayo businessman and Member of Parliament, said Kamambo, was as a result of acts and/or omissions on his (Banda) part which constituted ‘a serious breach of the Zifa constitution as well as its rules and regulations as defined by Articles 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4 under document 3, “Rules relating to misconduct and disciplinary proceedings” of the Zifa rules and regulations”.

“Banda illegally and unilaterally without authority of the board, unconstitutionally usurped the powers of the executive committee as enshrined in section 34(K) of the Zifa constitution that delegate the sole responsibility of appointing national team coaches and other technical staff to the Zifa executive committee and not individuals,” said Kamambo.

Banda had appointed Bongani Mafu and Tonderayi Ndiraya as well as Edie Chivero to the national team structures, Mafu and Ndiraya as assistant coaches to the senior national team where they were set to replace Rahman Gumbo and Lloyd Mutasa while Chivero was to be the Young Warriors manager.

“Banda wilfully misrepresented, lied and misled the public, stakeholders and the world during his press conference that the Zifa executive committee made the decision to fire coaches and made new appointments fully knowing that to be untrue,” added Kamambo.

Fast forward to August 30, 2020, exactly 592 days later, another executive committee member Bryton Malandule, in an unsolicited interview, sent an audio to the media announcing the appointment of all representative national teams, beginning with the senior men’s and women’s sides. He clearly stated that the names were recommended by the technical and development committee which he chairs and subsequently approved by the board.

“We have finalised the list of coaches for all our representative national teams. Maybe for the avoidance of any doubt, I will name coaches that were recommended by the technical and development committee and subsequently approved by the Zifa executive committee. As you are aware, for the senior team our head coach is Zdravko Logarušic, assisted by Lloyd Chitembwe and Ndiraya. The goalkeepers’ coach is South Africa-based Pernell McKop, with Tembo Chuma on standby in the event that McKop will not be available,” said Malandule before unveiling other coaches such as Sithethelelwe Sibanda (Mighty Warriors), Peter Nkomo, Mighty Warriors’ goalkeepers coach, Rosemary Mugadza (Under-20), Thulani Sibanda (Under-17). Other names were the Highlanders trio of Mandla Lulu Mpofu, Bekithemba Super Ndlovu, Melusi Mabaleka Sibanda, Agent Sawu, Mike Madzivanyika, Evelyn Rimai, Irene Mwanza, Alice Ruzani, Dorothy Nyakonda.

A few days after the announcement Zifa came out and distanced themselves from the appointments with spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela telling Chronicle Sport that the names were just but recommendations awaiting ratification by the executive committee. This was despite the fact that Malandule himself, in his own voice said the names had been approved by the executive committee. It’s a carbon copy of what Banda had done which saw him being booted out. Malandule still sits in the executive committee.

As proof that the appointment had probably not been approved by the executive committee, Zifa this week named a completely different line up for the Young Mighty Warriors’ technical team led by one Annie Konje. Thulani Sibanda is nowhere to be seen. So why did Malandule tell the world that the names were final? Who gave him the mandate?

Is this not ‘a serious breach of the Zifa constitution as well as its rules and regulations as defined by Articles 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4 under document 3, “Rules relating to misconduct and disciplinary proceedings” of the Zifa rules and regulations” which Kamambo told the world on January 17 when he announced the suspension of Banda?

Why is the law being applied selectively?

It was Kamambo himself who said, on the day when he was announcing Banda’s suspension, that his board took that route to show the entire world that it is serious about constitutionalism and the rule book and further added that the board’s mandate as given to them by the ‘esteemed assembly members was to grow our game and to adhere to the constitution’.

So constitutionalism was only remembered when it was time to boot Banda out? We still remember that Banda had consistently called for a forensic audit of the Zifa finances and that stance might have made some people very uncomfortable so to create a comfort zone, Mr Gee, as Banda is known in social circles, had to be eliminated. Constitutionalism must not be selective or theoretical but must be seen to be practiced. Last week the executive committee co-opted Central Region chairman Stanley Chapeta to the committee, purportedly replacing ‘expelled’ Chamu Chiwanza.

While indeed Chiwanza was expelled, the constitution, which Zifa claim to uphold, states that the Congress must endorse that decision. We all know that there hasn’t been any congress since the expulsion of Chiwanza so what will happen if the next congress refused to endorse that decision by the disciplinary committee?

As long as Chiwanza’s expulsion was not ratified by the board, the co-option of Chapeta remains null and void and subsequently any decision that the executive committee shall make with Chapeta in attendance shall be an illegality.