t’s now official. Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu is finally out of his cocoon and has declared that he will seek re-election at the association’s polls in December, reversing his earlier decision to bow out at the end of his 15-year reign.
He is expected to face his first vice-president and confidant-turned-nemesis James Mwenda who declared interest in his boss’ position in July, Karonga United chairperson Alufeyo Chipanga Banda and former FAM vice-president Moses Mkandawire.
But all the aspiring candidates will have to first get a nomination from the FAM’s nine affiliates and also fulfil the association’s requirements for their names to appear on the ballot.
Announcing the decision to seek a fresh mandate, Nyamilandu said in a statement that he decided to change tune after being approached by the affiliates.
“I have received overwhelming support and encouragement by members of the affiliates to stand again owing to the remarkable achievements that have been realised while I have been at the helm of office. I therefore, cannot ignore the affiliates who have shown significant trust and confidence in me as the best candidate,” reads the statement in part.
Nyamilandu also said his stay in office at Fifa Council and FAM need to run simultaneously for the country to benefit in football development.
He said: “I believe that it is now time for the entire football fraternity to reap the fruits of my appointment as a member of the Fifa Council. Under the circumstances, it is only logical that while I am serving as a member of the Fifa Council, my stay in office as the president of FAM should simultaneously run together so that the country can fully maximise the benefits of my membership to this supreme body.
“It is also paramount to mention that in the unlikely event of not being FAM president, it would water down the relevance of being a Fifa Council member by virtue of not having a constituency to represent. The result of which is that you lose bargaining power that would have been instrumental in influencing and shaping the development of football at all levels,” he said.
Nyamilandu also said he would like to complete unfinished projects which are already underway as stipulated in his 2015 ‘Harvest Time’ manifesto.
“I am in a better and stronger position than ever to undertake projects of this nature while serving as a member of the Fifa Council drawing from the new connections that have been carved on the international platform. Not to mention the vast experience and knowledge gained while serving as FAM president, which puts me in good stead to transform the game of football in Malawi and take it to a new level,” he said.
Mwenda yesterday refused to comment on his boss’ decision to seek re-election.
But in July Mwenda had indicated that he expects tough opposition in the December polls.
“It’s a competition and you don’t underrate anybody,” he said.
Flames legend turned analyst Peterkins Kayira, who had been agitating for Nyamilandu to declare his stand on the issue, said now that he has finally come in the open, it is time for all aspiring candidates to tell the nation their agenda.
“It’s good that he has come in the open to under the speculation. What is expected is that all aspiring candidates should state their agenda. Right now it’s no longer whether one should stand or not, but what they intend to do to develop football in the country.
However, Kayira noted that getting a nomination will be tough for the aspiring candidates.
“So far we have four that have shown interest—Nyamilandu, Chipanga, Mwenda and Mkandawire. But will they get nominations? This is why they need to articulate their agenda so that they can convince the affiliates,” he said.
Nyamilandu was first voted into office in 2004 in a by-election to replace Sameer Suleman, who lost the position after failing to fulfil FAM constitutional requirement of a Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) certificate.
Nyamilandu presidency timeline:
· 2004: Wins by-election after defeating Geoff Gondwe and Hastings Kapenuka
· 2007: Gets second mandate after winning against Henry Chibowa
· 2008: Announces that he will not seek a third term
· 2011: Changes tune and contests for the third term defeating Chibowa again
· 2014: Wilkins Mijiga and Willy Yabwanya announce they will challenge Nyamilandu
· 2015: Defeats Yabwanya and Mijiga to earn fourth term
· 2016: Fifa announces term limits for ex co positions, FAM changes statutes to be in line with Fifa
· 2018: Announces that he is not going to seek a fifth term although he is eligible to contest
· 2018 (October): Elected as Fifa Council member
· 2019 (June): Changes tune, says he will make a decision on whether to stand or not
· 2019 (July): Mwenda announces to contest for the FA presidency
· 2019 (October): Nyamilandu announces his intention to seek fifth term