Mighty Wanderers board of trustees has dissolved of the club’s executive and main supporters committees effective today, after a week of controversy, built around a fallout between factions of the fans over elections.
Board chairperson Rashid Gaffar said the matter is being handled by his deputy, James Chuma.
Chuma said the move to dissolve the committees has been made to ease the tension and pave the way for free and fair elections in the wake of ugly scenes that occurred on Sunday outside the team’s clubhouse at Chichiri.
“It is very sad that hardly a month passes without Wanderers fans being involved or implicated in acts of violence and what has happened today is a shame to the entire Wanderers family,” said Chuma.
“We need to act promptly and put a stop to all this mess; otherwise, it could affect the future of this team considered as one of the biggest in the land. So, after consultations, we have agreed to call for a stakeholders meeting on Tuesday evening to try and bring peace among the warring factions and then map the way forward as regards elections and on Wednesday, we will announce the dissolution of the two committees,” he said.
The tension in the blue side of town worsened when the two factions were involved in scary fights leading to a couple of them suffering injuries and some rushed to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital for treatment.
Fans from the two camps were also involved in verbal confrontation outside the hospital’s Outpatient Department where supporters committee chairperson Yona Malunga exchanged verbal tirade with a fan from the other camp only identified as Trouble.
Among the casualties were the team’s supporters committee chairperson for Zomba Davis Monjeza, another Zomba-based fan Bob Ziligone who lost his BlackBerry mobile phone, incumbent main supporters committee treasurer Njobvu Aniva, former supporters secretary Paul Mphepo, Bangwe-based Chipiliro Tembo and Paul Banda (not the musician).
The cause of it all, according to the concerned parties was the cloud of uncertainty surrounding the polls.
Said Chuma: “As trustees, our position was that there would be no elections because there were certain issues that needed to be addressed such as eligibility of aspirants and other modalities. And in such elections, we also involve FAM and Sulom, I was, therefore, surprised to hear that there was pandemonium outside the club premises between the two camps over the elections.”
Chuma said as per the club’s tradition, they will start with the supporters elections and thereafter hold executive committee polls. He said only those who will pay a K1 000 (about $2.5) membership fee will be eligible to vote.
Club chairperson George Chamangwana insisted that the elections had been called off and suspected that delay in relaying the information led to the confusion.
“It led to a section of the supporters becoming suspicious and went to the club for fear of being caught off guard. They just wanted to be sure,” said Wanderers general secretary David Chamangwana.
Kanyenda claimed it was hired thugs who occupied the club premises and blocked supporters committee members from entering.
“When some supporters committee members led by Yona got wind that trucks were ferrying people to the club, they got suspicious and went there to check what exactly was happening, but they were beaten up by the thugs.
“I announced through MIJ radio and sent messages to other radios that the elections had been postponed. I, therefore, cannot be blamed for failing to put the message across. It was the other faction that wanted to hold dubious elections,” he said.