Politicians’ future in sports under threat
The future of politicians serving in local sports associations is facing uncertainty following Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS)’ move to formulate a policy to guide associations on governance issues, Malawi News has learnt.
The same policy will also offer framework on whether sports officials should be allowed to hold multiple posts with different sports associations.
MNCS Board Chairperson Sunduzwayo Madise said it was not witch-hunting but a progressive move to bring sanity into sport.
“It is not only politicians but everyone should be scrutinised. We don’t have any policy [framework] so it means everyone for themselves. Even in law, if a person has to be president, some qualifications must be met. Not necessarily academic ones but others. Even at Reserve Bank there is a fit and proper test for one to be a branch manager.
“This will help bring sanity and also ensure that there is integrity in our associations. I am not saying there is no integrity. You just have to be sure that the people running our associations are trustworthy. Therefore, we need framework and guidelines to be followed,” he said.
Madise said the development will also help associations to address some contentious issues.
“People should not be raising issues when they want to hold elections. We also have cases where people might be barring others due to inside politics. We have also noticed that some associations are encircled and they put in place a system to bar others,” he said.
However, Madise said associations will be given time to implement the policy when formulated.
“We won’t be rushing because it will seem as if we are rushing people. We will give them time to hold Annual General Meeting to ensure that their constitution is in line with the guidelines we have given them,” he said.
Currently, Malawi Olympic Committee (Moc) president Jappie Mhango and Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) president Abigail Shariff are among the active politicians.
Shariff, who is Zomba Likangala Member of Parliament, could not be reached to comment.
Similarly, Mhango, who is also Rumphi North parliamentarian, was unavailable for comment.
However, last year Mhango told the media that as long as the constitution allowed him and others to contest, there was no need to stop one from serving in sports.
Meanwhile, sports analyst George Kaudza- Masina said this was long overdue.
“MNCS has to be highly recommended.
If you look at sports in general, it has proved to be a unifying factor the world over. Unfortunately, the involvement of politicians has ended up compromising everything.
“Sports being what it is, this should be out of bounds for politicians to be participating in it officially,” he said.
The former Football Association of Malawi acting general secretary said politics was too huge to be combined with sports and compromise, in one way or the other, is likely to creep in a negative way.
“It has happened before in Malawi, with the leadership of an association affiliating themselves to a governing party or the one in opposition, which has been affecting the sport altogether, knowing what politicians are made of.
“As such, in the policy being formulated by MNCS, it shall make a lot of sense if sports positions are left to the people who are not actively in politics to avoid conflict of interest and for sports to remain a unifying factor as it should be,” he said.
Masina also called for the quick formulation of the policy to bar people from holding multiple roles.
“For prudence, it will be imperative that sports officials should not be holding multiple positions as is the case now. Let people vie for positions in a single particular discipline and dedicate all their efforts than trying to be a jack of trades where in most cases they have proved the opposite,” he said.