Walter Nyamilandu, James Mwenda mediation today
Malawi National Council of Sports-initiated mediation involving Football Association of Malawi (Fam) president Walter Nyamilandu and his deputy-turned challenger, James Mwenda, are finally set for today.
The council scheduled the meeting a fortnight ago in Blantyre but Mwenda was unavailable as he was reportedly pre-occupied.
The council’s acting Executive Secretary, Henry Mereka, Thursday confirmed the talks which are aimed at cooling the simmering tension between followers of the two camps who have been involved in skirmishes at match venues and other fora.
“I wouldn’t want to pre-empt the agenda of the meeting but what we want is to ensure that, instead of sitting and watching, the electoral process is free and fair,” Mereka said.
In the latest incident, self-styled Flames top supporter Beleti ‘Billy One’ Severe’ released a video a few days ago threatening to deal with Nyamilandu and his team if his insists on standing again for a fifth four-year term of office.
Nyamilandu’s critics say he had overstayed in his position and that Malawi football needs fresh ideas. However, Nyamilandu says Malawi football stands to lose out from his Fifa Council membership if he is out of Fam.
A few weeks ago, Mwenda and Nyamilandu’s followers exchanged blows at Kamuzu Stadium VIP section after a pro-Nyamilandu fan Yona Malunga put on a campaign T-shirt despite Super League of Malawi banning the same.
Nyamilandu’s media liaison officer, Kandani Ngwira, Thursday said the Fam head was ready for the talks.
“We have always conducted civilised campaign but the president’s opponents have waged a campaign using violence, trying to force the president not stand again when the law [Fam constitution] allows him to stand again,” Ngwira said.
“We have also received reports that sports journalists who are reporting professionally about the president’s achievements are being threatened. You must have heard that someone has released a video threatening the president. He is an agent of the president’s opponents. They know that they cannot defeat the president through the ballot so they are using violence.”
Commenting about Friday’s meeting, Mwenda said: “I will attend without fail. It is a very important meeting ahead of the elective conference. As leaders of football, we need to protect the brand which is football”
Fam on Wednesday opened the nomination window for the elections that apart from the presidency involves first and second vice presidents and five executive committee members.
The likes of Jabbar Alide, Lameck Khonje and Daud Mtanthiko have been linked with the vice presidency, with the likes of Felister Dossi said to be eyeing executive membership.
However, full details would emerge once nomination process is done.
Some 36 delegates drawn from Fam affiliates will vote during the December 14 elections scheduled for Mangochi. Winner is decided by 50+1 system.
Karonga United Chairperson Alufeyo Chipanga, Balawala Vingula of Blantyre and former Fam vice president Moses Mkandawire are also aspiring for the presidency.