A former Big Bullets official Kondwani Jawati has filed an appeal to the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) electoral appeals committee, challenging presidential candidate Wilkins Mijiga’s eligibility.
In the appeal filed last week, Jawati queries that Mijiga does not qualify on the basis that he has not been in association football for the required period.
“Having looked at the profile of Wilkins Mijiga the last time he held a position as an association football official was [when he was] a member of FAM’s commercialisation and marketing team in 2012-2013. As such he can’t be said to be in active association football as an official at the time of his nomination.
“I believe the term ‘active association’ [in football] needs to be clarified because my understanding is that the framers meant to restrict it to those that are active leading to the elections.”
Jawati claims that he was co-opted into the Bullets executive during the period between 2012 and 2013 and Mijiga was not a trustee of the team “as he claims in his profile submitted to FAM.
“I remember that our trustees during that point in time were James Busile, Fred Kwacha and Kinnah Phiri and at a later stage others such as Jim Kalua and a Mr. Msowoya from Lilongwe, were also co-opted, but I have filed the appeal as an interested individual.”
Ophman Kondowe, who was Bullets general secretary in 2003, said the trustees that time were Yusuf Matumula, Rashid Nembo, and Gaston Mwenelupembe.
“That time the team was being sponsored by former president Bakili Muluzi who made some board appointments and Mr. Mijiga was not one of the appointees,” he said.
Kondowe disclosed that the FAM electoral appeals committee representatives also asked him to confirm Mijiga’s claims saying: “Through phone I was asked about the issue and I told them that Wilkins was not part of the board.”
Another former official George Kapachika, who was Bullets secretary from 2004 to 2012, said it was not true that Mijiga was the club’s trustee during that period.
He said if Mijiga was part of Bullets, the club could not have suffered its worst financial crisis which threatened to force it into extinction between 2004 and 2012 after Muluzi had withdrawn sponsorship.
Current Bullets vice-general secretary Kelvin Moyo said Mijiga is not part of the club’s current board of trustees.
Asked for his comment, Mijiga, a renowned marketer said: “I don’t want to say anything on these issues.”
Mijiga inserted the claim in his profile to prove that he has been in association football for more than five years as demanded by FAM statutes.
However, both FAM general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda and appeal’s committee chairperson Justice Lovemore Chikopa refused to comment on the matter yesterday.
The appeal against Mijiga is the fifth after the final list of aspirants was issued. Presidential aspirant Willy Yabwanya Phiri and executive member position seekers Paul Mzungu and Hubert Mfune are also seeking to overturn their disqualification.
Meanwhile, Tiya Somba-Banda, who is vying for the vice presidency, has also filed a challenge against his rival James Mwenda on grounds that he did not submit a Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE), which is a required minimum academic qualification. The appeal’s committee is expected to release the results this week.