Three chess players serving a two-year ban for boycotting the 2014 African Chess Championships in Namibia are seeking court injunction so as to participate in the World Chess Olympiad Qualifiers in March 2016.
South Africa-based Joseph Mwale has taken the matter to court through lawyer Wapona Kita to fight for his freedom and that of his compatriots Joseph Mwale and female player Vitumbiko Gondwe.
Kita confirmed on Monday that the case has been filed at the Lilongwe High Court and he is currently discussing with Chess Association of Malawi (Chessam) lawyers for a possible out-of-court settlement.
Chessam banned the players a few months ago following their boycott of the African Chess Championship. The three were protesting against the local chess governing body’s delay to give them their allowances.
Due to the suspension, the three cannot take part in any international event until 2017. This year, the ban prevented them from participating in the Zone 4.3 Chess Championships which Malawi hosted in April.
“Our seeking of court injunction is not aimed at getting confrontational with Chessam, but we would like to see justice done and the unwarranted ban lifted. We are willing to compromise and settle the matter out of court on condition that we be allowed to participate in tournaments,” said Mwale.
Chessam president Kezzie Msukwa confirmed that they are aware of the matter and are currently working on having the injunction vacated.
“From our view, they the banned players could have first appealed to Chessam or seek Malawi National Council of Sports’ (MNCS) intervention before going to the ordinary court as stipulated in our constitution. Therefore, we will fight to vacate their injunction,” Msukwa said.
When Mwale was asked why they did not appeal to Chessam or seek help from the MNCS first, he said: “We have taken the matter to court not necessarily to sue but to make sure the case is handled with urgency as regards the imminence of the Olympiad Qualifiers in March.” n