Volatile Football Association of Malawi (Fam) elections are over, but the winners and losers are counting the cost of a bruising campaign that has left cracks among affiliates and punched holes into the pockets of the contestants.
Politically-incorrect electorates, who were sieved out from voting lists, are grumbling across Fam’s nine affiliates. And unsuccessful candidates are agonising over the millions gone down the drawn.
The elections that saw Fam president Walter Nyamilandu ‘escorted’ to a fourth four-year term, evidently cost candidates millions.
While most kept a tight lid on their expenses, more transparent losing presidential candidate, Willy Yabwanya Phiri, gave a clue on the expensive elections.
“To be honest I have spent over $40,000 (K24 million) on the elections. I cannot go into specifics on what I spent on. It is a lot of things. The whole campaign was at a cost, but I do not regret anything. If you want to make something viable you need resources,” Yabwanya said on Thursday morning before flying back to his Canada temporary base.
Another losing presidential candidate Wilkins Mijiga insisted on Thursday that he was not concerned about the cost of the campaign, but the cause of bringing change to Malawi football.
“A lot of resources have been used in this struggle and many more will be used going into the future, but the fact is a bunch of crooks no matter how wicked and how much they have looted can never defeat 17 million people. People power will win,” Mijiga said.
Nyamilandu too was not specific on his campaign expenses, insisting that “our campaign was not based on finances but mutual love, trust and respect. Our success hinged more on emotional appeal than financial rewards. There were no financial rewards.”
Most candidates visibly spent when producing campaign T-shirts, manifesto booklets and paying for hotel bookings to launch manifestos.
Booking a hotel for a day’s activity plus refreshments can cost in the range of K500,000. Candidates also travelled the length and breadth of the country to meet affiliates, most of who are divided.
There is also a social cost to the elections. It has since transpired that some affiliates dropped electorates just days before they were earmarked to vote on suspicion that they were for ‘wrong’ candidates.
For example, the Central Region Football Association (CRFA) sidelined vice-general secretary, Ibrahim Kalonga when the rest of executive committee deputies such as vice-chairperson and vice-treasurer voted.
CRFA general secretary, Benard Chiwiriwiri Harawa insisted that Kalonga was not dropped but he was on the stand-by list. Kalonga stressed that he was not complaining.
Overall, Nyamilandu has since promised to heal the wounds caused by the elections.
Kalonga on Wednesday insisted that, when he learnt that he was not among the six CRFA voters, he peacefully returned to his Dedza base.
In another incident, Beach Soccer Malawi’s general secretary, Davie Sado was also surprisingly not among the voters. Malawi News did not talk to Sado.
Such changes have divided most affiliates such as Super League of Malawi (Sulom), whose vice-president Daud Suleman was excluded from the list of voters with ordinary executive committee members selected instead.
Sulom nominated Mijiga, whereas Suleman was believed to be aligned to Nyamilandu. Sulom general secretary, Williams Banda, on Thursday insisted that it was the president Innocent Bottoman’s prerogative to decide on the eight voters.
“The election process exposed some serious under currents within Sulom set up and leadership that needs to be corrected. We have some executive members that are misleading the association and they are taking the league into the wrong direction,” Suleman said on Thursday.
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