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Booted out

UNDER CARETAKER LEADERSHIP—Malawi’s runners

Sunduzwayo Madise

Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) has dissolved Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) with immediate effect and appointed an interim committee.

However, the country’s athletics governing body has objected to the move, describing it as political interference.

A press release signed by MNCS Board Chairperson Sunduzwayo Madise stated that AAM had been dissolved for failing to amend its constitution and hold elections within the stipulated time.

“Council, at its 179th meeting, passed a resolution to dissolve the current stand-in Executive Committee of Athletics Association of Malawi following its failure to conclusively finalise amendments to the constitution and hold elections.

“The mandate of the Executive Committee expired last year, but Council gave them a three-month extension in order to finalise processes for the amendment of the constitution and the holding of elections.

“This development has led the association to have several rival camps, thereby rendering it dysfunctional, which is detrimental to the sport, the athlete, sports in general and to the nation,” the statement reads.

Council has since appointed a caretaker committee headed by High Court judge Sylvester Kalembera.

Former Malawi Olympic Committee president Oscar Kanjala, Thokozile Kuwali, Chifundo Tenthani and King Rudi are some of the other members in the caretaker committee.

“The caretaker committee will oversee the finalisation of the processes that have remained uncompleted including holding elections for the new executive committee of the association,” the statement further reads.

However, AAM general secretary Frank Chitembeya said they will report council to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for interference.

“This is political interference. As it is, Malawi risks being banned from international competitions such as Olympic Games and other world events. It is not us but the athletes who will suffer,” Chitembeya said.

He claimed that council has been sitting on their roadmap which had suggested amendments and a proposed day for the polls.

“We submitted a roadmap indicating the suggested amendments and proposed day for the elections which we have planned to hold in December. However, Sports Council has been sitting on it,” Chitembeya said.

AAM executive’s four-year mandate expired in October last year but attempts to hold elections were thwarted by some of the association’s affiliates who lodged a complaint with council claiming that the elections could not be conducted in a free and fair manner since some articles in their constitution made it easy for incumbent committee members to manipulate voters.

One of the most contentious articles in AAM’s constitution allowed members of sub-committees, who were appointed by the elected executive committee members, to vote during an elective general assembly.

This was seen as something that compromised the sub-committees’ loyalty because they could not vote against individuals that had appointed them.

Efforts to change the association’s constitution have been hitting a blank wall for the past eight years.

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