By Mabvuto Kambuwe
The elections for regional football associations took a new twist yesterday after Football Association of Malawi (Fam) said it will go ahead with the polls despite Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) order.
The Council, on Friday suspended regional elections for the football associations until concerns from various stakeholders including Anti -Corruption Bureau (ACB) were addressed .
However, Fam General Secretary , Alfred Gunda, in a letter, said it was void, illegal and lack of respect of rule of law for Sports Council to intervene in the affairs of Fam.
“We are startled that, in terms of the statues of the regional football associations, the statues of Fam , including the MNCS Act, the MNCS does not have any adjudicative powers over dispute within the football family,” reads part of the letter.
In addition, Fam said the interference may have serious repercussions in as far Fifa statues are concerned. The three regional football associations namely Southern Regional Football Association (SRFA), Northern Region Football Association (NFRA) and Central Region Football Association (CFRA) were due to hold election this month.
The elections are expected to take place today whereas CRFA and SRFA are expected to be conducted next week.
The Council, in a statement dated 4th March 2021, stopped the elections.
“It is in view of this development and in the interest of maintaining the integrity of Football Management in Malawi and to also ensure the credibility of the outcome of the elections that it is Council’s position that all regional elections be pended until such a time that all the concerns from your affiliates and the ACB are resolved,” Sports Council Acting Executive Director Henry Meleka said in a statement.
The regional football associations elections were also halted in November last year paving for investigations on alleged corruption and bribery surrounding the nomination process.
After the investigations, ACB ordered fresh nomination process for all the three regions saying there were several irregularities including forging of nomination forms.
Sports analyst, George Kaudza-Masina, said the drama would continue.
“Sports Council is trying to bring sanity in football. But I can see total chaos,” he said.
Lameck Khonje is expected to go unopposed as NRFA boss whereas CRFA chairperson Austin Ajawa and his SRFA counterpart Raphael Humba are seeking reelection.
Meanwhile, ACB has also said it has the mandate to prosecute both public and private entities including Fam saying even Fifa does not shield its members from being investigated by Anti Corruption Laws around the world. The response comes after Fam recently told ACB to stop interfering in the affairs of the association.
In a letter which The Sunday Times has seen, ACB Deputy Director, Elias Bodole said the Bureau has legal mandate.
“The Bureau under the current regime of the laws of Malawi, has an absolute mandate to investigate and prosecute members of Fam and its affiliates in relation to engagement ins in the football sport if they happen to indulge in corrupt practices.”