The African Union Sports Council (Ausc) Region Five has passed new resolutions which will compel sports associations in member countries, including Malawi, to impose term limits on their elected officials.
The sports associations will also be mandated to disclose their sources of funding to the government.
The Ausc is an African Union (AU) arm which promotes sports in southern African countries. It passed the resolution earlier this month during its Ordinary Council of Ministers meeting held in Maseru, Lesotho.
Minister of Youths, Sports and Culture Francis Phiso was among Malawi dignitaries to the meeting. South Africa, Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique and Angola were among nations that were represented.
Published on the Aausc internet platforms, the resolutions report tasks countries to ensure that all associations have amended their constitutions by December 2021.
The report also calls on associations to set minimum requirements and term limits for elected officials through amendments of sports organisations’ constitutions.
On finances, the resolutions point out that “all sports organisations should fully disclose their financial, material and/or any other form of assistance from their respective governing bodies or from any other source.”
Malawi has over 40 sports associations that represent various sports codes such as tennis, football, basketball, netball and volleyball. They are regulated by the Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS), a government arm.
In an interview yesterday, MNCS acting executive secretary Henry Mereka said the resolutions are meant to ensure that are managed in a progressive way.
“The member countries observed that some officials are clinging to positions for too long. This shuts up room for fresh ideas that can help improve sports in the region,” he said.
Mereka also explained that accountability on funding will help the government to ensure that the money associations receive from donors is put to good use.
The 25-point report also encourages the southern Africa countries to enforce anti-doping programmes, enhance sports commercialisation and improve athletes’ performances.
Asked on their capacity to implement the determinations, Mereka said they will liaise with associations, sports department and other stakeholders on how to map the way forward.
In an interview yesterday, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) executive member Jabber Alibe, said he does not see anything wrong with the resolutions on reporting the donations.
“All sports associations get funding from government through the council. Therefore, they are supposed to be transparent. So, this could not be an issue of government interference in associations’ affairs,” he said.
On amending the constitution to accommodate term limits, Alide feared there could be some conflict.
“There is likely going to be conflict when it comes to interference with the constitution. Mind you, the whole point of having associations running autonomously is to avoid direct influence by government,” he said.
In his reaction, Basketball Association of Malawi general secretary Edgar Ng’ong’ola welcomed the resolutions as a positive step towards winning donor confidence.
“Reporting the donations is important as it helps donors to have trust in the associations,” he said.
On term limits, Ng’ong’ola said it is an effective way of freshening up associations. However he asked that the officials should not be limited to one term only.
“We will still want to have institutional memory. Staying for a short period would also disrupt the associations’ programmes,” he said.
Former FAM acting general secretary George Kaudza Masina backed the resolution. “The longer you stay in these elected positions you end up being absolute,” he said.