Aspirants complain about lack of transparency
Underground politicking and campaigning has punctuated the build-up to next Saturday’s Malawi Olympic Committee (MOC) elections with some aspirants complaining about lack of transparency in the electoral process.
Seven days before the elections, names of nominated candidates for positions of president, vice-president, secretary general (SG), vice-SG, treasurer and committee members remain under wraps with MOC secretary general Helene Mpinganjira saying they are waiting for their judicial commission to vet the candidates.
MOC is a national umbrella body for Olympic sports such as boxing, volleyball, athletics, swimming, football, basketball, cycling, judo, canoeing, bowling, archery, table tennis, lawn tennis, taekwondo and wrestling. MOC funds association programmes, including training, through the International Olympic Committee (IOC) headquartered in Switzerland.
The secrecy has seen some candidates pulling out of the race while others have opted to contest for ordinary executive member positions in fear of crossing paths with some of the Oscar Kanjala-led executive committee members. Deadline for receiving nominations was last Friday. The term of office is four years.
Basketball Association of Malawi (Basmal) has nominated its vice-president Ben Mlasaanthu to gun for a similar seat at MOC, but he has complained of lack of openness on the electoral process.
“There is too much politics and secrecy in the whole process. It is like people have already shared the positions within MOC and the elections will be a mere rubber-stamp. We go to the elections clueless as to who we will compete against,” Mlasaanthu complained on Tuesday.
MOC constitution is silent on when identities of candidates can be made open to electorates, but stipulates that an announcement for the annual general meeting (AGM) needs to be made 28 days in advance and that nominations close two weeks before the polls.
Kanjala is set to go unopposed as there is no challenger for the presidency, leaving a bitter battle on the vice-presidency, which has reportedly also attracted FAM sole’s female executive committee member Flora Mwandira.
“She has shown interest and we have supported her candidature,” FAM president Walter Nyamilandu confirmed on Tuesday.
Reports of the elections being a mere rubber-stamp have emerged as current MOC executive member Henry Sakala will reportedly compete as treasurer with current occupant Jappie Mhango opting to challenge Mpinganjira for SG’s seat.
On Tuesday, the Malawi Boxing Association (Maba) president Sakala refused to comment on his candidature whereas Mhango claimed he was unaware of his nomination as SG.
“There is no secrecy boss, as I believe the candidates will be known as soon as the judicial commission goes through the file as that is the procedure,” said Mhango who is also Volleyball Association of Malawi (VAM) president.
Judo Association of Malawi has nominated its president, John Kaputa, to gun for vice-secretary general’s seat whose current holder is Hackson Chapasa.
Chapasa ruled out seeking re-election as he heads the Wushu Association of Malawi (WAM), which is yet to attain Olympic status. He entered MOC while serving as athletics GS.
Acquatic Association of Malawi president Dean Pinto insisted that they had not nominated any candidate as the “current executive committee looks to be doing a good job”.