Flaws in the Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) constitution continued to haunt stakeholders as a winner for the Northern Region Netball Committee Chairperson post was bizarrely selected by tossing a coin.
Allan Nkhonjera won the position after a coin was tossed following a tie with Tamara Fweta. The two tied at eight votes on two occasions.
Fweta said it was painful to lose through this manner.
“Honestly, the netball constitution should have provided guidance in case of a tie. After tying for the second time, the returning officers announced that our elections would be held after some weeks so that we could campaign again.
“However, returning officers summoned delegates again, announcing that coin-tossing would be used to determine the winner. This was after returning officers received calls from above,” she said.
The winner, Nkhonjera, said he was equally dumbfounded.
“I did not expect to be elected this way. In fact, I was for the sake of sportsmanship. There was change of direction after returning officers received calls to proceed with coin-toss,” he said. about to pull out but I competed
Sources indicated that Nam President Abigail Shariff was contacted to break the tie but she declined.
Shariff did not pick our calls whereas the association’s general secretary Isaac Chimwala could not be reached.
However, renowned netball and law expert Wesley Namasala felt that the Nam constitution was not properly developed to address such issues.
“Article 5.1 of the Nam constitution simply provides that Regional Netball Committee shall be elected by delegates from district netball committees in that region at a Regional Netball General Meeting. The constitution is silent on two key issues;
“Firstly, what is the threshold requirement for determining the winner? Simple majority or 50%+1? I am aware that the simple majority method has, all along, been used, despite not being specifically provided for in the Nam constitution. I guess nobody cares about that,” Namasala said.
“Secondly, in an event that there is a tie, how do you break it? What is clear though is that any power exercised at any level in hierarchy of Nam is derived from the direct will of delegates through voting.”
Namasala said, in an event that there was a tie, any mechanism suggested to break the tie must not take away the direct will of delegates.
“In my opinion, coin-tossing is taking away the direct will of delegates. Taking cognizance of the constitutional lacuna and at the same time recognising the power given to delegates under Article 5.1 of Nam, my opinion is two-fold,” he said.
“Firstly, if there are more than two candidates, the delegates should do another voting only involving the two candidates who have tied in votes.
“Secondly, if there are only two candidates, clearly the result is inconclusive. Article 16.2 of Nam constitution provides for an extraordinary general meeting. The same should be called with the specific task for another vote to break the tie. The assumption is that the existing dimensions would probably not be the same at the time of the other vote at an extraordinary general meeting which will eventually break the tie.”
Namasala advised Nam to examine its constitution.
“The constitution has gaps which can be abused by some unscrupulous Nam executive members,” he said.
Recently, Nam came under fire for contravening its constitution, which calls for “total women representation at all levels”.
Article 2 of the constitution reads: “Encourage and promote total women representation at all levels of administration of the sport of netball and undertake and or do all things or activities which are necessary or conducive to the advantage of these objectives (Object 2 P & Q).”