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Disqualified Yabwanya Phiri to appeal

After a long anxious wait, Football Association of Malawi (Fam) Electoral Committee has  endorsed the candidacy of incumbent Walter Nyamilandu and Wilkins Mijiga, while disqualifying Willy Yabwanya Phiri from the December 12 presidential race.

Phiri has since challenged the decision which the committee, chaired by Justice Dingiswayo Madise, made at Chiwembe Technical Centre in Blantyre on Saturday when scrutinising the nominations.

“There is a conspiracy theory. They wanted us to write a mini-football profile and I indicated my address as Box 97, Karonga. To my surprise, they have based their decision on my temporary residence address in Canada. I am a temporary worker in Canada and my work permit indicates that,” Phiri said in a telephone interview from Canada yesterday.

“To make matters worse, they  have not communicated to me, but the media. I suspect they want the appeal window period to expire. They know I am a strong candidate. I have done more development of Malawi football than Walter and Mijiga combined. I will definitely appeal.”

The Karonga United owner, who insisted that he would relocate to Malawi to serve Malawi football, said while he has no issues with the Justice Madise-led committee, he suspects that the presence of Suzgo Nyirenda in the committee compromised the process.

Nyirenda yesterday dismissed Phiri’s remarks.

“I was never part of the screening and I have sent this press release because I have the media addresses. Please ask the chairman and he will verify. Please let me not be thrown into any mud. At the end of the day, I do my work professionally. Whoever is complaining should do so to the chairman. I was never part of the meeting,” Nyirenda said yesterday.

A press release signed by Madise and released by Nyirenda’s office, states that Phiri was disqualified because he does not meet the pre-condition of Article 34.2 of Fam’s statutes which states that candidates must have residence within the territory of Fam to be eligible for the polls.

“Willy Yabwanya Phiri is not resident within the territory of Fam as he is resident in Canada. Specifically, his address of residence is 1891 Foy Street, Abbotsford, V2t 6b1, Canada,” reads the press release.

The electoral committee also disqualified Hubert Mfune’s nomination due to his alleged failure to prove his academic qualifications, which is contrary to Article 34.2 of Fam statutes.

“For one to be eligible to be a member of the Executive Committee of Fam, they must have a minimum academic qualification of MSCE or its equivalent. Hubert Mfune did not provide any proof of attainment of MSCE or its equivalent or a higher qualification,” reads the statement.

Aspirant for the position of vice-president, Paul Mzungu, was also disqualified for failure to submit his profile.

“…as such the Electoral Committee did not have any information regarding him and subsequently, did not have proof that he is/was eligible to be a candidate,” the electoral committee determined.

The full list of candidates that have been approved to compete during the December 12 polls in Salima is as follows: Executive members: Alfred Gunda, Jabbar Alide, Rashid Ntelela, Daud Mtanthiko, Flora Mwandira and Masauko Medi. President: Nyamilandu and Mijiga. First vice-president: James Mwenda and Tiyanjane Somba-Banda. Second vice-president: Pikawo.

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