By Staff Reporter
SUSPENDED Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) executives have said they are eager to stand trial and clear their names after their suspension by the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) on a number of allegations.
Felton Kamambo, Philemon Machana, Stanley Chapeta, Joseph Mamutse and Bryton Malandule are in court accused of abusing the ZIFA letterhead, writing letters claiming to be the executive members yet they were on suspension.
They said if there is no trial they should be freed.
Their suspension was seen as government interference and saw the country being banned from international matches.
They have been pushing for their trial which the State prosecutors have been failing to do seeking postponements on the guise of completing investigations.
Prosecutor Anesu Chirenje, Friday told the court that the docket had been sent back to the police station for completion of investigations, seeking a postponement to September.
The five represented by Admire Rubaya challenged postponement saying the prosecution was being used to abuse them by people connected to law enforcement agencies and politicians.
“The accused persons are viewed as thieves in the court of public opinion but thieves are those that have invaded the ZIFA house. All they are saying is give us a trial date. They want to assert their rights and clear their names but the State is developing jelly legs.
“If they are not read to put them on trial they should let them go and summon them when they are ready. They know there was no offence committed and they are stuck with the docket,” he submitted.
Rubaya said in politics what happened to his clients is a “coup” which is illegal and led to the ushering in of an “illegitimate” new ZIFA board led by Gilbert Banda.
He said football governing bodies FIFA and CAF have made it clear that they recognise Kamambo and his team, referring to a recent letter from CAF which stuck with the Kamambo led executive.
“FIFA and CAF have made it clear that they do not recognise the Banda led illegal and illegitimate executive and as long as those illegitimate leaders at ZIFA are still there, we will not have any meaningful football in the country including international matches,” he submitted.
Their lawyer this week wrote to BDO Auditors Zimbabwe who were reportedly engaged by the SRC to audit ZIFA accounts challenging the move as illegal as their suspension by the body is null and void as it is not recognised by football bodies.
The five said the State is now employing lawfare tactics being used by those with political links hoping to embarrass them and coerce them into resigning.
“We can’t have a situation where certain individuals force out legitimate leaders that were legitimately elected into office. If it was in politics this would be a coup,” their lawyer said.