It all started like a rumour and it spread so fast like bushfire. Now it is no longer just pretty talk. Big Bullets players and supporters want their sponsors Nyasa Manufacturing Company (NMC) to buy out the club.
The proposal has once again split the People’s Team into two factions— one for the buyout, the other against the idea.
Those for the sale of the club have put up a very valid argument. They claim Bullets have been rocked in wrangles that mainly stem from the fact that its ownership is not clearly stated.
Supporters Committee chairperson Stone Mwamadi argues that by lacking clearly formulated legal status, the rule of the jungle reigns supreme at the club. The strong survive and the weak are weaned.
It is clear that supporters call the shots at Bullets. If you are in good books with the supporters, you can be Bullets chairperson forever. Try to cross paths with them, and then you are gone.
Bullets acting general secretary Kelvin Moyo argues that Bullets need normalisation to do away with this attitude.
“South Africa’s Orlando Pirates had the same scenario as Big Bullets before Dr Irvin Khoza took over. Remember it’s a people’s team.
“That’s why we need proper ownership with the help of Football Association of Malawi [FAM], Super League of Malawi (Sulom) and the supporters. It’s called normalisation,” he said.
Moyo said if this materialises, Bullets would be registered as a company with NMC as majority shareholder while supporters will be minority shareholders.
But then those that are against the sale of the team have fears that the People’s Team concept will die once NMC buys out the club.
“I do not think it is fair for a section of the stakeholders to ask the sponsor to consider taking over ownership. They [NMC] came in as an investor. They already had their plans and goals and to expect them to take over ownership is going out of the way.
“We should not get too excited; let the sponsors play their role. The club has its structures and we cannot just wake up and make such a proposal before going through normal consultations,” said former chairperson Kondi Msungama.
In the middle of the debate trustees have made their stand clear.
Vice-secretary Victor Msowoya said: “The powers are invested in key stakeholders who are members. It is a consultative process and it would require resolutions being made and then go to an annual general meeting [AGM]. It’s a complex issue that cannot be based on individuals’ opinions.”
While the proponents of the buyout claim that Bullets ownership is not clear, Bullets is actually owned by registered supporters. Official records show that Bullets are currently operating under Trustees Incorporation Act in which James Busile is board of trustees chairperson.
Though there are also other entities like Big Bullets Football Club, Big Bullets Limited under Cifu Investments Limited and Bullets Holdings Limited that legally can claim ownership of the club, their legality can be challenged as one corporate affairs lawyer argued:“They can be de-registered for not submitting returns.”
Can history repeat?
But even if NMC were to buy out, they risk going through the same path that Big Bullets Football Club, Big Bullets Limited under Cifu Investments Limited and Bullets Holdings Limited passed. Hostile takeovers are not a phenomena at Bullets. On any day, the red army can rise and depose NMC. History tends to repeat, so they say. n