Football Association of Malawi (Fam) is facing a constitutional crisis as it cannot hold a general assembly as the mandate of some of its affiliates expires on Monday.
Southern Region Football Association (SRFA), Central Region Football Association (CRFA) and Northern Region Football Association (NRFA) committees were given 60 days to continue running affairs following the expiry of their four-year term, which ended on November 30 last year.
The three associations were stopped from holding elective annual general meetings in November following a restraint order from Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in the wake of alleged irregularities that marred the nomination process.
Football law expert David Kanyenda said Fam cannot form a quorum for its general assembly to transact valid business.
“Quorum stands at 50 percent +one of the delegates entitled to attend and vote at the General Assembly in terms of article 32 of the Fam Statutes.
“In the instant scenario, since the three regional associations and Beach Soccer Association would be entitled to send an aggregate of 20 out of 36 delegates, then, its impracticable for the FA [Fam] to hold a valid General Assembly,” he said.
The former Be Forward Wanderers general secretary said the situation presents an unmitigated governance crisis at both national and regional levels of football administration.
“The expiration of terms of office for three regional associations and the nullification of Beach Soccer elections is fatal to the general administration of football.
“It would be unconscionable for the FA [Fam] to seek to unlawfully extend the mandate of associations, more so in light of the investigations by ACB into allegations of corrupt practices,” he said.
Fam General Assembly attracts affiliates such as Super League of Malawi, National Women’s Football Association, NRFA, CRFA and SRFA, among others.
Kanyenda said Under Article 28 of Fam Constitution, the General Assembly has wide powers to approve the budget, activity and audit report and also amend statutes, rules and regulations.
“I did urge Fam to tread with caution in this period of statutory uncertainty and constitutional darkness. The crisis is self-made and came about because of the FA’s insatiable appetite to influence the composition of affiliate bodies for political ends,” he said.
Former Fam acting General Secretary George Kaudza Masina said the regional associations would not have any powers over the regional football.
“Ordinarily Fam cannot extend the tenure of the regional associations as they do not have a mandate to do so. As it stands, there is a need for the regional associations to call for an extraordinary general meeting to seek for an extension of their mandate until ACB is done with the investigations.
“It has to be understood that these associations are still but functioning and ACB only halted the elective conference and not the AGM per se,” he said.
SRFA Chairperson Raphael Humba said they have approached Fam for guidance as there was a restriction from ACB.
“It is tricky because our mandate is officially ending on Monday midnight and some of my fellow members were talking about holding an Extra Ordinary General Meeting but we thought that was not right.
“Fam is meeting on Saturday and we are hoping that they will discuss this issue and give us feedback from what we have written,” he said.
However NRFA chairperson Zetu Khonje said his association would wait until ACB finalised investigations.
“Our mandate period is on pause with ACB action. As such we will still be in office until we get ACB clearance,” Khonje said.
Fam President Walter Nyamilandu did not pick our calls.
ACB Spokesperson Egrita Ndala they had not yet concluded the investigations.
“Note that the festive season slowed down the investigation. The bureau is giving the investigation the seriousness it deserves,” she said.