“The fish rots from the head” Damian Collins, British member of Parliament (MP) on Monday said about football scandal rocking Fifa. MP Collins was commenting disgraceful eight-year bans handed down on each of the Fifa leaders, Sepp Blatter (Fifa president) and Michel Platini (Uefa president and Fifa vice-president).
The veracity of the wisdom above is pervasive as it is universal. Growing up in our communities most of us knew that those families where the father was a wretched drunk-cum-village idiot, the likelihood was that the children from such family were equally going to end up as delinquent adults full of disgrace, either thugs for boys or hookers for girls. Simply because in our male dominated cultures children looked up to the father as the proverbial head of the home.
It is not strange that most of the successful and powerful people, not ‘Cashgaters’, in society today grew up with single mothers as the power figures in their lives. The reason is that by their nature women are largely on the sober and sensible side of things than men in most cases, with a few exceptions. If in doubt, look up Chancellor Merkel, Margaret Thatcher and soon-to-be-president Hilary Clinton.
Allow me to announce my return from a self-imposed short sabbatical, which culminated in a solid proof of what I had gone to verify that the leadership in football globally and especially in Malawi is corrupt, rotten and overdue for overhauling.
For the past 15 years I have rendered my free service in helping Malawi football in different incarnations. During that period, through close observation, I came to the conclusion why Malawi football will never progress; a flawed and corrupt leadership that has no interest in football at all.
Driven by a passion for community, I took Shakespeare’s wisdom of “to beguile the time look like the time”. I, therefore, joined the race for the president of Football Association of Malawi (FAM).
From day one, everyone around me made it clear that I was insane to drag my fairly decent reputation into the cesspool of madness, mediocrity and banditry that is FAM, which others uncharitably christened as Fraudsters Association of Malawi.
Bernard, my workmate, wondered whether I was prepared to have my name scandalised and my skeletons spewed out of the closet. I told him that I was confident there was nothing morally repugnant from my closet.
As the processes to qualify to participate as the candidate gathered speed the learning process of how rotten and bedeviled business of football in Malawi started revealing itself to my excitement because I knew then that this time Malawi was going to know how thoroughly rotten the business of running football had become in the past 12 years.
First experience was over a drink watching English Premier League (EPL) five guys were purportedly sent, including two people that I know intimately, spent four hours haranguing me to convince me to quit the race, because I was up against an accomplished mafia: “Bwana mukulimbana ndi munthu wazikwanje ndipo muvulala, ingozisiyani” literally “boss you are fighting a machete chief, you will be injured, just quit”.
I retired home planning to quit only the next day to meet a circle of friends who, having watched my Times TV show with Brian Banda the night prior, insisted that I stay in the fight to expose the machete guru for what he really was.
I went on the highway in full gear propelled by my passion for exposing the truth, cheered by a nation thirsty and hungry for change, all the way to the final stages of the process.
At every major hurdle, the machinations of corrupt practices, intimidation and underhand tactics were not only clear for all to see, but defiantly played out in full view of the nation. We persevered.
Then finally came the eve of the elections, when FAM Appeals Committee, which had been previously louded and praised by the chairperson of FAM Electoral Committee during a Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) TV debate was defied by the same electoral body after the Appeals Committee had ruled for a deferment of the elections.
Of course the sham elections were staged in the middle of the night as had been predicted by many in the know and what I set about proving was perfectly done as in primary school arithmetic.
Post balance sheet, as accountants say, on Monday December 21 Blatter and Platini are banned from footballing activities, and surely the those at FAM must be wondering when are FBI, MI6 and Interpol are coming to investigate the bribes for 2014, 2018 and 2022 complimentary tickets. As the old Nyanja proverb said: “Nsomba ikawola imodzi mu katangale zonse zawola” or literally translated as “One rotten fish in a basket is a whole rotten fish basket. n