Fifa to observe Zifa elections; Chiyangwa challenger’s requests dismissed

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By Sports Reporter

WORLD football governing body FIFA says it will send a delegation to observe the forthcoming ZIFA executive committee elections pencilled in for Harare on December 16.

Fifa secretary-secretary Fatma Samoura revealed this to Zifa presidential aspirant Felton Kamambo on Thursday after he had last week made a passionate appeal to Fifa to ensure that the elections are held in a credible manner.

Kamambo, the former executive committee member will square off against incumbent Philip Chiyangwa, while Chiyangwa’s deputy Omega Sibanda faces the challenge of Gift Banda.

Five candidates – Bryton Malandule, Chamu Chiwanza, Stanley Chapeta, Sugar Chagonda and incumbent Philemon Machana – will vie for the four executive committee posts.

The world football governing body however, refused to give in to Kamambo’s request to further postpone the elections to January to allow him equal time to campaign after a spirited bid by Chiyangwa to bar him from contesting recently hit a brick wall.

Fifa noted that the new date for the elections was in line with the Zifa statutes while also dismissing Kamambo’s reservations against FIFA Director Africa and Caribbean Region Veron Mosengo-Omba.

“… We were informed that ZIFA’S elective congress is now scheduled to take place on 16 December 2018 in line with two weeks’ notice required to submit the final list of candidates to the Members of ZIFA (cf. art 32 par. 7 of the Zifa Statutes),” Samoura said in an emailed correspondence to Kamambo on Wednesday.

“Finally, we would like to seize this opportunity to inform you that FIFA will deploy a delegation to Harare to observe the electoral proceedings.

“In this context we strongly repudiate the unfounded and defamatory allegation that Mr Veron Mosengo-Omba, FIFA Director Africa and Caribbean Region, would be in any way compromised or partial with regard to the upcoming ZIFA elections.”

The decision taken by FIFA comes as a blow to Kamambo who had called for major reforms ahead of the upcoming elections, arguing that the playing field had until recently has been tilted in favour of the incumbent.

Kamambo lobbied for the disbanding of the Vusilizwe Vuma-led electoral committee as well as the relocation of the Zifa secretariat from Chiyangwa’s private business premises to a neutral office before the elections can be conducted.

The world football mother body however, only decided to focus on the electoral committee’s decision to overturn its initial decision to bar him from contesting.

“We refer to your letters dated 12 and 30 November 2018 and other communications in relation to the electoral process of the Zimbabwe Football Association,” said FIFA.

“In this context, we would like to inform you that FIFA, upon receipt of various allegations in relation to Zifa’s electoral process (including yours), has sought explanations from the Zifa administration and its electoral committee.

“Eventually and as already pointed to you as reflected in your correspondence dated 30 November 2018, FIFA was informed that the electoral committee’s decision to declare you ineligible to contest in the ZIFA elections has been reversed and that you are now an official candidate for the ZIFA presidency.”