Chess Asoociation of Malawi (Chessam) elections scheduled for Kamuzu Institute for Sports (KIS) tomorrow face quorum and eligibility challenges.
Each regional league for the South (SRCL), Centre (CRCL) and North (NRCL) is supposed to contribute 10 paid-up members to, alongside four Chessam executive committee members, vote at the annual general meeting (AGM), but the tenure of office for the South and Centre expired in January 2014. Chessam’s term also expired in June.
Some contestants such as Ulemu Chiluzi, former CRCL chairperson, has since withdrawn his candidature for a position he did not disclose, saying: “I cannot stand for an election which is not credible and puts the integrity of the association at risk.”
NRCL chairperson Isaac Mumba yesterday said his league has undisputed mandate to vote.
Chessam outgoing secretary general Leonard Sharra confirmed that Chiluzi challenged the eligibility of the AGM and that SRCL and CRCL have outlived their mandates. He, however, insisted that the AGM was not long overdue .
“There is nowhere in Chessam constitution where it is stated that leagues that have outlived their mandate shall not vote during the elections. The constitution rather bars the regional leagues from voting if they have not paid their affiliation to Chessam,” explained Sharra who will not contest.
Article 7.0 of Chessam constitution says: “A simple majority of the vote shall be required during amendments of the statutes, addition to agendas and election into office.”
It adds: “Ten members of their executive committee per league shall be eligible to vote in addition to the outgoing Chessam executive members. The latter shall not be allowed to vote if they have lived beyond their mandate as in Article 8(2) read together with Article 7 (1).”
It remains to be seen if the North will make the 60 percent quorum. But CRCL chairperson Gershom Chima had a different opinion, which he stressed was personal.
“The constitution talks about a simple majority. It is up to Chessam to determine whether the executive and those eligible to vote make a simple majority. The constitution says our term of office is two years and it does not say on the implications if it ends,” Chima argued yesterday.
If the elections proceed, incumbent office bearers such as president Kezzie Msukwa, vice-president Mark Chikoko, treasurer general Yohane Misomali and Chima going for the SG seat, will go unopposed. Misheck Nyirenda is eyeing national schools’ coordinator post while Stanley Mpinganjira, Makhosi Nyirenda and Gilton Mkumbwa are vying for the publicist’s seat.
SRCL chairperson Eric Kazembe yesterday insisted that their fate was in Chessam’s hands, adding: “It is true that the mandate of the current committee expired. We are to seek fresh new mandate.”
Sports Council executive secretary George Jana said Chessam constitution provides only for 10 members of every league of Chessam and the outgoing executive as being eligible to vote.
“There is nothing like regional leagues. Further, it only pronounces ineligibility to vote applying only to the executive committee if they outlive their mandate. It does not say that this applies to the leagues as well,” Jana explained yesterday. He added that there is no constitutional requirement for 21-day circulation of financial reports.