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Mass resignations

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Football Association of Malawi’s (Fam) new executive committee got a rude awakening Tuesday when the association’s entire Appeals Committee resigned in the aftermath of Saturday’s elections that were marred by injunctions.

Justice Lovemore Chikopa, reputable lawyers George Bakuwa and Patrice Nkhono, confirmed throwing in the towel from the committee, just days after Fam’s elections held in Mangochi.

However, the trio refused to divulge detailed information, saying they had tendered their resignation letters to Fam.

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Chikopa’s resignation letter, among other issues, states that there were some individuals in Fam executive committee who do not understand that it was possible to hold divergent views without having to indulge in insults.

The resignations follow Fam’s overruling of the Appeals Committee’s determination to postpone the elections on the grounds that Fam Electoral Code’s requirement to release the voters’ roll to delegates 15 days before the elections was not met.

The list was released two days before the elections that saw Fam president Walter Nyamilandu re-elected to a fourth four-year term after defeating Willy Yabwanya Phiri and Wilkins Mijiga, who apparently sought the Appeals Committee’s intervention.

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Yabwanya and Mijiga eventually obtained an injunction from the High Court in Blantyre only for Fam to have it vacated and pave the way for the elections.

Fam challenged the Appeals Committee’s determination on the grounds that the decision was made without a quorum.

A football administrator, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, said the resignations show that there could be “bigger issues behind the electoral process.”

One of the presidential candidates, Mijiga welcomed the resignations.

“I applaud their decision for demonstrating the kind of maturity of leadership that Malawi needs, but that unfortunately is in short supply. This proves that notwithstanding the cesspool of mediocrity and moral decay that is Fam, there are still men of honour worth to be called honourable,” he said.

Fam president, Walter Nyamilandu, referred questions to the association’s legal counsel, Jabber Alide, who in turn faulted the Appeals Committee for resigning instead of correcting mistakes they made.

“The gathering of that tribunal did not meet standard procedures and was not properly constituted because only two out of three members were available. As such they did not form a quorum. They were supposed to be three and two substitutes,” Alide argued.

“The appeal was also supposed to be addressed to Fam and not them directly. We respected their previous ruling which allowed Willy Yabwanya Phiri to stand. What could have stopped us from doing the same this time? Sometimes when you err you have to recognise it and move on.”

Lawyer, John Gift Mwakhwawa, who was once reported to be an aspirant to the Fam presidency, said the resignation of the three was a clear sign that the electoral process was flawed.

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