She speaks out:

KIRSTY RULES OUT IN­TER­FER­ENCE IN SPORT UGLY TWIST TO ZIFA ELEC­TION BUILD-UP

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Pet­ros Kausiyo and Ed­die Chikamhi

SPORT, Arts and Re­cre­ation Min­is­ter Kirsty Coven­try has once again ruled out Gov­ern­ment in­ter­fer­ence in the op­er­a­tions of na­tional as­so­ci­a­tions and in­stead in­di­cated that Zim­babwe was work­ing well with var­i­ous in­ter­na­tional fed­er­a­tions that gov­ern the var­i­ous dis­ci­plines.

Coven­try is in Bu­l­awayo where she is at­tend­ing Par­lia­ment’s pre-bud­get con­sul­ta­tive work­shop.

Al­though the core busi­ness of the work­shop is cen­tred on the up­com­ing bud­getary state­ment, Coven­try once again found her­self hav­ing to ad­dress the same is­sue that her deputy Yeukai Sim­bane­gavi dealt with dur­ing a ques­tion-and-an­swer ses­sion in Harare.

Nor­ton leg­is­la­tor Temba Mliswa had re­port­edly asked the min­is­ter on the Min­istry’s po­si­tion on par­lia­men­tar­i­ans like ZIFA pres­i­dent Philip Chiyangwa, his deputy Omega Sibanda and Zim­babwe Cricket chair­man Tavengwa Mukuh­lani who head their as­so­ci­a­tions while also be­ing leg­is­la­tors.

Sim­bane­gavi had ear­lier ad­dressed ques­tions around the sta­tus of the trio of Chiyangwa, Sibanda and Mukuh­lani.

But Mliswa felt the three were “con­flicted’’ in hold­ing of­fice in the Au­gust House as well as at their re­spec­tive as­so­ci­a­tions.

Par­lia­ment sources said Coven­try told Mliswa that: “My Deputy Min­is­ter an­swered that in Par­lia­ment and th­ese peo­ple are con­trolled by their in­ter­na­tional sports fed­er­a­tions.

“They come to us through the SRC and I have al­ready said that Gov­ern­ment will not in­ter­fere in their op­er­a­tions. If Par­lia­ment wants Gov­ern­ment to in­ter­vene, then we should be ready for the con­se­quences which in­clude be­ing banned by the in­ter­na­tional fed­er­a­tions of those sports codes,’’ the sources said.

Coven­try how­ever, ac­knowl­edged that Gov­ern­ment was work­ing well with in­ter­na­tional fed­er­a­tions, which in­clude FIFA, the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil and the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee.

The min­is­ter’s stance also put paid to spir­ited ef­forts by a clique that had sought Gov­ern­ment in­ter­fer­ence in the fi­nal phase of ZIFA elec­tions sched­uled for De­cem­ber 1 in Harare.

ZIFA’s board elec­tions will bring the cur­tain down on the as­so­ci­a­tion’s elec­tion sea­son.

Chiyangwa and Sibanda have, how­ever, been re­tained af­ter their chal­lengers, Gift Banda and Fel­ton Ka­mambo, were dis­qual­i­fied from the race, with the pair’s sus­pen­sions from foot­ball ac­tiv­i­ties re­turn­ing to haunt them.

Ka­mambo had sought to chal­lenge for pres­i­dent, while for­mer Njube Sun­downs di­rec­tor Banda wanted to take on Sibanda in the bat­tle for vice pres­i­dent.

ZIFA chief ex­ec­u­tive Joseph Ma­mutse this week wrote to both Ka­mambo and Banda ad­vis­ing them that their ap­peals against their dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion could not be en­ter­tained as their sus­pen­sions were a mat­ter that could only be dealt with by the ex­ec­u­tive or congress.

Both men have vowed to fight to the bit­ter end to en­sure they were given a chance to take a crack at the ZIFA pres­i­dent and vice pres­i­dent’s po­si­tions.

It how­ever, emerged that the ZIFA elec­tions saga had taken an ugly turn amid al­le­ga­tions that Ma­mutse was now liv­ing in fear af­ter se­ri­ous threats on his life over the dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

Ma­mutse al­leged that he had re­ceived life threats from peo­ple al­legedly sent by the dis­grun­tled for­mer ZIFA board mem­bers who have been dis­qual­i­fied from run­ning for of­fice. The ZIFA chief ex­ec­u­tive was con­fronted by un­known men at his of­fices on Tues­day as the elec­tions saga took an ugly turn fol­low­ing the de­ci­sion by the Elec­toral Com­mit­tee to bar the trio of Mlungisi Moyo, Ka­mambo and Banda from con­test­ing. The case has since been re­ported at High­lands Po­lice Sta­tion un­der RRB 3738870 and the po­lice have been called to carry out in­ves­ti­ga­tions. Ma­mutse, a me­dia shy char­ac­ter, was last night not pre­pared to dis­cuss the is­sue but the lawyers rep­re­sent­ing him con­firmed that they had since lodged a po­lice re­port af­ter threat­en­ing state­ments were is­sued against the chef ex­ec­u­tive. He has also al­legedly re­ceived threat­en­ing calls from anony­mous callers pur­port­edly sent by the aspir­ing pres­i­den­tial and vice-pres­i­dent can­di­dates. It is al­leged that Ma­mutse was con­fronted at the ZIFA of­fices on Tues­day af­ter hav­ing writ­ten let­ters on the as­so­ci­a­tion’s po­si­tion to re­ject no­tices of ap­peal by Ka­mambo and Banda. Le­gal prac­ti­tioner Keith Magorimbo, who is rep­re­sent­ing Ma­mutse, how­ever, con­firmed that his client was un­der siege. “I can con­firm there has been a case of that na­ture and the mat­ter has since been re­ported to the po­lice. I am sure in­ves­ti­ga­tions are un­der­way. So this is all I can say for now,” said Magorimbo. Banda

on Wed­nes­day told our Bu­l­awayo Bureau that he would con­tinue to fight to have his “con­sti­tu­tional right to con­test’’ up­held.

“As a ci­ti­zen of Zim­babwe, they must al­low me to ex­er­cise my con­sti­tu­tional right to ap­peal. Whether they are go­ing to throw away the ap­peal is nei­ther here nor there. I must be heard and that right can­not be taken away by Ma­mutse (Joseph), who is the sec­re­tar­iat but by the Ap­peals Com­mit­tee, not the chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer,” said Banda.

Banda also claimed that he had more sup­port­ers than Sibanda and would trounce the in­cum­bent if al­lowed to con­test the polls.

“If he (Sibanda) thinks he is clever, sizahlangana be­cause what I know is that 70 per­cent of the peo­ple who vote in th­ese elec­tions are in my struc­tures in the MDC and I know I will beat him hands down,” said Banda.

The spir­ited bids by Ka­mambo and Banda to defy their bans and ap­peal their dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion has over­shad­owed the rest of the poll which also has six can­di­dates for the bard mem­ber po­si­tions.

Banda was dis­qual­i­fied on the ba­sis of his ban for his in­volve­ment in the Cen­tral­gate match-fix­ing scan­dal in 2011.

Ka­mambo was handed a sus­pen­sion in April, barely a month af­ter he had quit his post on the ZIFA board.

Mlungisi Moyo, who was eye­ing a place in the ZIFA board, also failed the in­tegrity test and this has left a field of six can­di­dates for the four slots for board mem­bers. But there were no such prob­lems for ZIFA fi­nance guru Phile­mon Machana, me­dia prac­ti­tioner Barry Manandi, pub­lic re­la­tions ex­ec­u­tive Sugar Chagonda, busi­ness­man Chamu Chi­wanza, Stan­ley Chapeta, and ex-ref­eree Brighton Ma­lan­d­ule who are eye­ing the four slots on the board.

But the lat­est devel­op­ment, which saw the ZIFA head of sec­re­tar­iat re­ceiv­ing threats on his life, could pro­vide a new twist to the bal­lot.

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