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Fam regional polls maneuvering begins

Walter Nyamilandu

Maneuvering has started ahead of Football Association of Malawi’s (Fam) regional elections scheduled for December.

The polls will be held in the country’s three regions of North, Centre and South.

Underground campaign has since started in the Northern Region where officials have embarked on an exercise to win delegates’ support.

Reports from the region indicate that Fam’s second vice president, Othaniel Hara, has joined the camp chaired by Felix Mbonekera who has joined forces with Alufeyo Chipanga.

Hara reportedly took with him a high powered delegation to Chitipa and Karonga districts last week where they met football administrators.

The delegation met Chitipa District Football Committee Chairperson, Leonard Sichalwe, and his entire committee in a meeting that lasted several hours.

However, Hara has denied campaigning for the Mbonekera and Chipanga camp.

“I indeed travelled to Chitipa and Karonga but this was purely on football matters in my capacity as Fam second vice president and not on a campaign trail as is being portrayed by some quarters. Such people are our detractors. They just want to tarnish my image and that of Fam,” Hara said.

Sichalwe confirmed meeting Hara’s ten-member delegation.

“We were surprised to see Hara in the midst of those vying for positions in the Northern Region Football Association [NRFA]. His message was that he was sent by Fam’s president [Walter Nyamilandu]. He said NRFA leadership had failed and needed to pave way for others. He then asked us to vote for the group he had accompanied,” Sichalwe said.

He said they consider the delegation’s conduct as unbecoming as official campaigning was yet to commence.

“We called the Fam president, notifying them of the visit. We wanted to find out if indeed he had sent the group and whether he knew about such maneuvering. But he expresses ignorance on the matter, so we told them that our position as a committee will be made after analysing manifestos for all candidates,” Sichalwe said.

NRFA General Secretary, Masiya Nyasulu, described the underground campaign as unfortunate.

“God will fight our battles. It is unfortunate that our own parent who should have been supporting us has taken this stance. It is clear that the parent is fighting us. But this is Northern Region and people here cannot be taken for granted. They cannot be dragged into other people’s battles.

“People should vote for candidates on merit and not because of arm-twisting. The football fraternity is fully aware of the current committee’s contributions to the game in the region, so let them not waste time. They should stop doing this otherwise they will be ashamed,” Nyasulu said.

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