FAM regional affiliates’ elections process has taken another twist following Malawi National Council of Sports’ (MNCS) directive to stop the polls scheduled for today and this coming Saturday, to resolve emerging concerns.
Northern Region Football Association (NRFA) is expected to hold its elections today while those for Central and Southern regions are slated for March 13.
In a letter to Football Association of Malawi (FAM) dated March 4 and signed by MNCS acting executive secretary Henry Mereka, he states that: “Council is in receipt of various requests and concerns regarding the conduct of elections for regional football associations, who are affiliates of the Football Association of Malawi (FAM).
“Council has considered the issue raised by various parties, including the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB). It is in view of this development and in the interest of maintaining the integrity of football management and to also ensure the credibility 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 ACB are resolved.
“For the avoidance of doubt, council does not expect FAM or its affiliates to proceed with any election of any regional football associations until all contentious issues have been resolved.”
Sports Council stated that the directive is not political interference, but was made to ensure that internal disputes within its affiliates do not affect the status and the capacity of affiliates to perform.
In an interview yesterday, Mereka said Sports Council would call for a meeting with stakeholders to resolve the impasse.
“We will announce in the coming week to plan on when to meet stakeholders, but we want to do it as soon as possible,” he said.
However, FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda was coy on the Sports Council’s directive, saying: “We have received the letter and the executive committee is reviewing it. We will revert to council after the review,” he said.
But in an interview yesterday, NRFA chairperson Lameck Khonje said they will not comply with the Sports Council directive because they are affiliated to FAM.
“Elections will proceed as planned. We are affiliated to FAM as such we get orders from the same. We haven’t been instructed otherwise by our mother body, FAM,” he said.
CRFA vice-general secretary Antonio Manda also said they are waiting for FAM to give them direction.
“CRFA awaits FAM on the way forward. In the absence of the direction from FAM, we cannot do anything apart from following what we were told to do—hold elections,” he said.
On his part SRFA chairperson Raphael Humba said: “It was FAM who told us to hold elections not Sports Council. So as of today [yesterday] FAM has said nothing concerning our elections.
“In the absence of any communication from FAM the elections will go on. After all, we don’t belong to Sports Council.”
Former FAM executive committee member Daud Suleman, writing on his Facebook page, faulted Sports Council for the move, saying it smacks of interference.
Reads the post in part: “MNCS is over-stepping its mandate and bounds. What MNCS is trying to do, via the wrongly advised ACB letter, is what Fifa [world football governing body] terms interference. AÇB should have pinned the corrupt people and not fault the whole football arrangement as far as elections are concerned. Football is political and it moves through politics.”
On his part, football analyst Kevin Moyo faulted ACB for failing to name the alleged corrupt individuals following its investigations.
He said: “If the elections are stopped because it is to do with ACB’s investigations pertaining to regional elections, then it is not justifiable. The ACB concluded the investigations and gave FAM the greenlight to go ahead with the elections.
“The biggest implication is that there will be bad blood between FAM and the government since the FA will likely proceed with the electoral process, putting the two on collision course.”