ZIFA are confident they will stage smooth elections this year, with the soccer mother body insisting yesterday that they would be guided by their constitution as they take steps to hold the polls. The association will outline the elections road-map after their annual meeting slated for February 17 in Harare where congress is expected to ratify the new electoral committee that will be tasked to oversee the election season.
ZIFA, through vice president Omega Sibanda and board member finance Philemon Machana, yesterday set the tone for activities that will characterise their 2018 calendar of events which will culminate in elections for the board. Machana and Sibanda addressed the media in the capital where they took the opportunity to clear the air on a number of issues pertaining to the manner in which they are administering the game.
By virtue of being the country’s flagship sports association, ZIFA are always under the spotlight with their elections a major talking point in and outside the borders. Machana, however, said, contrary to popular belief, ZIFA were not compelled to hold elections in March, but would ensure they stage the polls inside 2018. It has emerged that what is key is that the elections are held in the year on which the cycle falls with the actual dates, “being a mere issue of semantics’’.
Machana said it was not possible to hold the polls in March since the electoral committee had not been ratified by Congress, a constitution requirement that would then pave the way for them to commence their job by overseeing elections of all affiliates.
Once established, the electoral committee would need at least six months to set the motion for the polls, which means that unlike the tradition of March elections, this year’s elections are now set for the end of the year. Both Sibanda and Machana stressed the unity that prevails in the board that is led by Philip Chiyangwa.
“We may fight or argue during board meetings which is natural, but what is important is that when we come out of those meetings we are united. This is why we have a board that has not been characterised by firings and suspensions of board members,’’ Machana said.
“The election road map will be finalised at the AGM. That’s when the electoral committee will be announced and ratified. The road map is going to be discussed then and if you go to the electoral code it explains how the electoral committee works. The minimum has to be six months after the election of the electoral committee because they need to be in existence for a minimum of six months before they start conducting any election.
“So if they are going to be set up in February it means there have to be a lapse of six months. So the elections cannot be in March. Our understanding is that the elections have to be in 2018, not necessarily March. People are just saying March because traditionally the elections are held in March but the constitution doesn’t say March . . . but it has to be 2018,” said Machana.
The current board has been in office for two years after they took over the reins from the Cuthbert Dube leadership in December 2015. Machana believes the current executive has done well in keeping the ship afloat and were only following the dictates of the constitution. Before they stage their annual indaba, ZIFA are expected to hold and Extra-ordinary General Meeting on January 20.
The association’s audited accounts are expected to be tabled at the EGM with the 2011 audit which revealed the association’s bankruptcy expected to dominate the discussions. ZIFA were expected to hold their AGM late last year but they missed the date because the delegates had not received the mandatory 90-day notice. Machana said that backlog had prompted the request for an EGM.
“We are required by the SRC, where we are registered as one of the sports bodies, to give them annual audited accounts before the end of each operating year. So by principle we should have handed such before 31 December and that has not been done because we can only do so after the accounts have been ratified by congress. It’s the same with FIFA, it’s the same with CAF. So these are statutory obligations that we must meet and it’s a constitutional requirement. So we are actually trying to fulfil our statutory obligations by pushing for the EGM so that we can quickly deal with this,” said Machana. The ZIFA finance man said the association was mulling plans to service its debts which are in excess of $7 million.
Machana said the current executive had done its best under trying conditions after inheriting an association that had been blacklisted by auditors as a non-going concern after it became incapacitated because of huge debts. The Harare businessman said the association has done well to stop the debt situation from going out of hand.
“There is a plan on the debt situation. We are working with stakeholders, government included. So at this stage it will be premature for us to say much except for those that we felt were very urgent which we had to facilitate and fund from our own pocket as ZIFA. But the rest we are working with stakeholders to find permanent solutions,” said Machana.
ZIFA, who were declared insolvent by the Sport and Recreation Commission earlier in 2015, have found themselves having to fend off a litany of litigations as creditors battled to attach whatever they could from the few properties the association had.
Courtesy of the Herald