Gift Banda scoffs at so­cial me­dia re­ports

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Ricky Zililo

AS­PIR­ING Zifa vice-pres­i­dent, Gift Banda, scoffed at so­cial me­dia re­ports that Zifa coun­cil­lors were de­mand­ing bribes in ex­change for votes, say­ing that is meant to spoil the good re­cep­tion he has been re­ceiv­ing from as­sem­bly mem­bers.

Speak­ing at a Press con­fer­ence where he also out­lined part of his man­i­festo, Banda whose drive to chal­lenge for Zifa’s vice-pres­i­dency is to take foot­ball back to its cus­to­di­ans, the coun­cil­lors, said he will not be de­terred by base­less so­cial me­dia re­ports.

“I want to set the record straight on al­leged vote buy­ing al­le­ga­tions against hon­ourable mem­bers of the Zifa coun­cil which have gone vi­ral on so­cial me­dia. A lot has been hap­pen­ing on the ground and it’s com­mon knowl­edge that elec­tion sea­son is a silly sea­son where all al­le­ga­tions or all things are thrown at con­test­ing can­di­dates. Things that won’t be right, some will say si­jike­lana udaka ukuthi singcol­isane, but, none­the­less, I’m not a per­son who will do that. I’ve never be­fore in all in­ter­ac­tions with Zifa congress mem­bers been asked for mon­e­tary favours in ex­change for votes. The congress knows who will de­liver our game from the cur­rent quandary,” said Banda

“I don’t sub­scribe to the bad prac­tice of vote buy­ing and bribery as such a prac­tice is short lived. The congress is made up of men and women of means who will not sink so low as in­sin­u­ated in so­cial me­dia ar­ti­cles in cir­cu­la­tion. My man­i­festo will be the dif­fer­ence be­tween a foot­ball states­man and a foot­ball politi­cian.

“The forces be­hind the so­cial me­dia ar­ti­cle are ex­pos­ing their patho­log­i­cal fear for free and fair elec­tions, which are long over­due. Their days are num­bered and their exit from our beau­ti­ful game is only 11 days away.

“Our elec­tion team, made up of men and women with un­ques­tion­able in­tegrity and ex­pe­ri­ence will re­main fo­cused on the job at hand and will devote all the en­ergy to­wards the de­liv­ery of our game from the clutches of self-serv­ing in­di­vid­u­als who thought they were big­ger than foot­ball.

“May I as­sure the congress and the mil­lions of Zim­bab­weans that I will serve the peo­ple’s game to the let­ter once elected into of­fice and that I shall be ac­count­able to the Zifa congress as a ser­vant leader.”

Banda said he has been re­ceived “warmly” by most coun­cil­lors he has met.

He was eva­sive on al­le­ga­tions that as­pir­ing Zifa com­mit­tee mem­ber, Chamu Chi­wanza, a well­known ally of Zifa pres­i­dent Philip Chiyangwa, was cam­paign­ing on Banda’s be­half.

“In my can­di­da­ture, I’m talk­ing about tak­ing the game of foot­ball back to its own­ers, back to the coun­cil­lors. Go­ing around the coun­try, the first ques­tion I asked the coun­cil­lors was that “are they in con­trol of foot­ball?” and all of them have been giv­ing me the same an­swer that they were not. What has been hap­pen­ing in the past is that coun­cil­lors vote in the ex­ec­u­tive and once they are in of­fice they usurp pow­ers of the coun­cil­lors. Our ma­jor prob­lem in soc­cer is based on con­sti­tu­tion­al­ism. The ex­ec­u­tive has de­vi­ated from fol­low­ing the con­sti­tu­tion.

“We were brought back into the race be­cause they didn’t fol­low the con­sti­tu­tion or the elec­toral code,” Banda said.

He ap­plauded the na­tional foot­ball board for pre­vent­ing the debt from bal­loon­ing.

Banda also said his de­ci­sion to chal­lenge Omega Sibanda for the vice-pres­i­dency was “noth­ing per­sonal”.

“If there’s one thing we should give to the present Zifa ex­ec­u­tive, it’s that they in­her­ited a debt of about $7 mil­lion and it still re­mains the same. If I get into Zifa I know we’ll see how we can re­tire the debt.

“They’ve man­aged to get us back to in­ter­na­tional foot­ball after be­ing banned fol­low­ing that Tom Saint­fiet mat­ter.

“I feel and be­lieve they are lack­ing in terms of run­ning our foot­ball based on the con­sti­tu­tion and find­ing our com­mit­tees that don’t re­quire money and its sad. The elec­toral com­mit­tee as well as the ap­peals com­mit­tee, which were not rat­i­fied by the as­sem­bly, are a clear breach of the con­sti­tu­tion.

“I don’t have a run­ning mate. If Chamu is cam­paign­ing for me I’ll take the vote. We’ve never made a pact that we’re

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