Mighty Wanderers have indefinitely suspended elections for their Southern Region supporters committee following differences on the modalities.
The Nomads were supposed to have elections for their supporters in all the three regions on Sunday. The Southern Region committee has always been influential because it is the base of the team.
The club’s general secretary David Kanyenda justified the move, saying proceeding with the elections would have been a recipe for chaos.
He also said the two rival camps have since come up with a joint interim body that will run the affairs of the committee to be headed by incumbent chairperson Yona Malunga with his prospective challenger Onani Chaponda as his deputy.
“Let me make it very clear that we have not suspended the elections. We have only postponed them indefinitely because we are not ready to hold credible, free and fair elections as the concerned parties could not agree on the eligibility of the electorate.
“There is one group [loyal to Yona] that wants only paid-up members to take part in the process whereas the other [that supports Chaponda] is demanding that only subcommittee members from the zones should vote.
“Of course, our [reviewed] constitution stipulates that only paid-up members are supposed to take part in the elections, but it was noted that it would be unfair to implement that system immediately because we have just intensified the registration drive and it is yet to gain ground and, as such, we have not been able to reach out to all our supporters. So, because of these challenges, it was agreed that we should form a transitional committee comprising members from both groups,” said Kanyenda.
The Nomads GS, who doubles as the club’s spokesperson, also said the interim body that has been put in place, will be mandated to set up structures and then map the way forward.
“Among other things, the interim body will also be mandated to conduct elections in the zones and intensify the registration drive. When we have reconstituted the subcommittees, then we’ll be able to call for the actual elections,” said Kanyenda.
He also said the club expects the interim body to intensify the registration drive and reach out to the majority of the team’s supporters.
“The ordinary membership fee is classified as bronze and it is pegged at K1 000 (about $2.50) and we expect that a true nyerere should be able to part with that amount so as to help with the operations of their beloved team. After all, the membership cards are now available,” he said.
However, Kanyenda said everything being equal, supporters in the Centre and North are supposed to go ahead with their elections on Sunday.
The general secretary also noted that the controversy surrounding the supporters polls has affected the team’s preparations for the forthcoming season.
“We have lost about six key players to foreign clubs in recent times and, instead of focusing on rebuilding the team, the emphasis has been on supporters elections which is not a healthy situation as we are facing a race against time ahead of the forthcoming season. We need to switch focus immediately,” he said.
While confirming the development, Malunga on Thursday referred the matter to his personal adviser Anthony Nyasulu.
“It is true that we have come up with a joint transitional committee to map the way forward and it is that [interim] committee that will be running the supporters affairs for the time being,” said Nyasulu.
Chaponda also confirmed the arrangement in a separate interview on Thursday. The club’s board of trustees vice-chairperson James Chuma said they were happy that the supporters had come up with an amicable solution.
“That is the way we expect Wanderers to operate, we promote contact and dialogue,” said Chuma.
Apart from Malunga and Chaponda, the interim committee also has Dennis Chitsulo as second-vice chairperson, Felix Njaya as secretary, Herbert Mapira as vice-secretary and Dominic ‘Njobvu’ Aniva as treasurer.