Newly-appointed Minister of Youth and Sports Ulemu Msungama has accused FAM president Walter Nyamilandu of being politically compromised by associating himself with the former governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
However, the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) boss yesterday said he is a professional and not a politician, adding that the local football governing body serves the government of the day.
In the countdown to the June 23 fresh presidential election, Msungama through a post on his Facebook page on June 11, accused Nyamilandu of allegedly attempting to rig votes.
He wrote: “Walter Nyamilandu mpira unakukanikani, pano muli busy kufuna kubera zisankho. Usavutike chili chonse ukupanga tikudziwa [Walter Nyamilandu you failed in football and now you are busy trying to rig elections. We know whatever you are doing].”
And asked if he is prepared to open up and work with Nyamilandu, the minister pulled no punches yesterday, saying: “What I would say is that tisavutike kuwongola chinthu chopindika. I do not hate Walter personally, but then constitutionally, Fifa and FAM do not allow its members to be actively involved in politics.
“But we saw images of him [Nyamilandu] in political attire circulating on social media which does not augur well with his position.
“I am a straightforward person who calls a spade by its name. I was interested that being an intellectual, how could he use his powers to advance his personal interests? I looked at it that he is not fit to be FA president.”
Msungama said he will have a meeting with the FAM president to tell him his mind.
“I would wish Walter to understand me that way and at some point I will have a one-on-one [chat] with him. He is an elected president, but then the expectation is that he should know where to draw the line or else resign from his position,” he said.
However, in his reaction, Nyamilandu said: “As FAM, we serve government of the day. This remains our commitment and call to duty to the new government. We are apolitical and shall always remain as such as part of our corporate governance principles.
“I am a professional and not a politician. I don’t hold any political position in any party and neither have I rendered support to any political party.”
He said a lot has been said in the social media about innocent souls in the just ended election campaign “and some of us have taken it with a pinch of salt”.
Nyamilandu added: “I implore the honourable minister not to judge or be prejudiced because he will be misled by propaganda.
“I have been a victim of circumstances of the previous regimes for similar reasons, but I have survived because of my honesty and integrity. The truth shall always set us free.”
He said he respects the new minister and will not stand in his way to discharge his ministerial duties.
“He has my full support. Let him judge me once he has interacted and worked closely with me,” said Nyamilandu.
The FAM president sparked controversy last year when a photograph of him sporting a DPP beret went viral on social media ahead of the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
However, Nyamilandu played down the issue, saying he wore it because he liked it as it had become fashionable.