In a new twist to the Silver Strikers FC controversy, it has emerged that supporters are fighting a lost cause in demanding executive committee elections as it has transpired that only 12 people own the team as shareholders of Silver Strikers Company Limited.
This means that the executive and the supporters committees have no place in the company’s structures—they neither have mandate to call for elections, nor vote, Silver’s legal adviser Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda confirmed.
Nyirenda said the club can no longer operate using a club constitution and it was wrong in the first place to, in 2013, hold elections for the current [executive] committee whose mandate expired on Monday. The committee has extended its mandate for two more years while claiming to do so in line with Football Association of Malawi (FAM) constitution.
“The club was incorporated as a company limited by guarantee and only shareholders can vote. They are no longer bound by the constitution, but by memorandum and articles of association. They are, in effect, not trustees, but directors of the board,” Nyirenda explained.
Under the new set-up, only the shareholders—such as board chairperson Kelvin Mmangisa, former chairperson McDonald Mafuta-Mwale, Megi Kajiyanike, Nasar Tayub, Rodrick Chataika, Paul Chimimba and Chiku Kalilombe—have the power to call for an annual general meeting and vote. Mario Antoine was once among the shareholders, but he resigned.
A source close to the club revealed that Nyirenda advised the shareholders prior to the 2013 elections that they were flouting company procedures.
“Under the new corporate governance structure, they are operating illegally to use the club’s constitution and have supporters vote. It is only the shareholders that can appoint/vote for directors,” said the source.
Nyirenda was elusive when asked on whether the company was flouting procedures, but simply added that “my job is simply to advise that they have to follow corporate governance structures. The club constitution has been superseded by the incorporation of the club as a company”.
He added: “The supporters no longer own the team. If the shareholders want, some supporters can be incorporated into the board. Even at Manchester United, the supporters cannot vote. It is only the shareholders who can.”
What has unearthed the can of worms is that the two-year tenure of office for the committee has, as per the constitution, expired, hence former officials Denis Kachikho and Owen Munthali’s call for polls.
In reaction, Silver general secretary Mike Tembo admitted on Tuesday that only the board had the power to call for elections, but fell short of revealing that even his committee is outside the structure.
The shareholders, who have all along been called trustees, met the supporters on Thursday to agree on how to replace some executive committee members who are accused of mismanagement.
Mafuta-Mwale, who resigned a few weeks ago as Silver executive committee chairperson, told MBC Radio yesterday [Friday] that the committee’s mandate extension to four years was agreed during the April 21, 2013 elections.
“But we must admit it was a mistake that this was verbal and the constitution was not amended. However, we cannot hold elections this year. If there are people that the supporters want to be replaced, let them make suggestions to the board,” Mafuta-Mwale told the radio.
Mmangisa confirmed on Wednesday that the club was registered as a company a few years ago. Weekend Nation has seen a copy of a cheque which reads “Silver Strikers Company Limited”.
Mwale on Friday refused to entertain questions. Antoine on Thursday admitted that he was among the shareholders around 2007 and 2008—alongside the likes of Tayub— but resigned after relocating to the United Kingdom in 2009.
Reacting to the latest development, Munthali said what Mwale told the radio that the executive term of office was four years was contradicting what Mmangisa and legal team wrote in 2013.
“They seem to be confused. They should sober up first, before reacting to this matter. Otherwise, they are bound to make grave mistakes,” said Munthali.
Meanwhile, Silver supporters held a meeting in Lilongwe on Thursday where they agreed to present a petition to the trustees, asking for the immediate resignation of Tembo and his deputy Madalitso Nazombe. n