By Sports Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) is headed for yet another disputed electoral process after challengers of incumbent president Philip Chiyangwa and deputy Omega Sibanda were controversially barred from contesting polls for the Zifa Board set for December 1.
Aspiring president and former executive committee member Felton Kamambo wanted to challenge Chiyangwa for the president’s post while former Bulawayo deputy mayor and businessman Gift Banda was vying for the vice-presidency.
The pair were however, disqualified from contesting in the upcoming elections by the Zifa Electoral Committee following its meeting in Harare on Friday to vet the final candidates for the polls.
The decision means Chiyangwa and Sibanda, whose term of office constitutionally expired in March, will retain their positions at the helm of Zimbabwean football unopposed.
The duo has been at the helm of the local football association since December 2015 when they won the mandate to see out Cuthbert Dube’s tenure which was to run until March 2018.
Kamambo, who served under Chiyangwa in the Zifa board before he quit in March arguing his term of office had constitutionally expired was deemed not eligible to contest as he is still serving a three-year ban imposed for allegedly trying to topple the Chiyangwa-led board.
The former Zifa board member was also deemed to have failed an integrity test, the same reason used to bar Banda, who the Zifa Electoral Committee said was “still undergoing rehabilitation having been previously suspended”.
Aspiring board members Ishmael Chibvunye and Mlungisi Moyo were also disqualified after the Zifa Electoral Committee’s vetting meeting last Friday.
Kamambo however, says he will challenge the decision to bar him from contesting in the elections.
“I will fight tooth and nail against this disqualification. I also believe the Electoral Committee has been captured by those in power,” Kamambo told NewZimbabwe.com on Sunday.
“I cannot fail the integrity test based on mere allegations otherwise no one was supposed to pass that test.”
“And how can Zifa suspend me over such serious allegations and then not bring me before the disciplinary committee only to bring up the story when I have registered my intention to take part in the elections?
“I can’t understand why they don’t want me to contest. Maybe, they are afraid I will win.”
The disqualified individuals have four working days to appeal against the electoral committee’s outcome.
According to a list released by the Zifa Electoral Committee chairman Vusilizwe Vuma, six candidates will now battle for the four board member posts.
Among the successful candidates given the green light to participate in the upcoming elections include incumbent Philemon Machana, Manica Diamonds secretary general Sugar Chagonda, and Central Region boss Stanley Chapeta.
Affirmative Action Group president Chamu Chiwanza, Zifa Southern Region board member, Bryton Malandule and sportscaster Barry Manandi are also in the race for the board member positions.