He tried to suppress a smirk, but could not just hold back the emotions—the smile just exploded.
All of a sudden, the uncertainty written all over his face during the FAM presidential poll voting was quickly replaced by a wide grin as FAM electoral committee chairperson Justice Sylvester Kalembera announced results.
Walter Nyamilandu had once again easily defeated his opponent in yet another FAM election, just like he has done in past four elections.
The results weighed heavily on his opponent James Mwenda who sat just a few chairs from Nyamilandu.
For some minutes, Mwenda sat motionless. His face contorted, probably letting the news to sink in, as Nyamilandu and his team celebrated the victory.
Mwenda then rose from his sit and shuffled slowly to congratulate his former boss, who welcomed him with open arms. They hugged.
It might not be what the public expected, but the affiliates made a clear statement as Nyamilandu defeated Mwenda 23-13 votes during the elective conference.
With the football fraternity divided into two factions, it was no wonder that Nyamilandu’s block also produced a winner in first vice-president race, where outgoing executive committee members Jabbar Alide and Daud Mtanthiko faced-off.
Alide won, after amassing 21 votes against Mtanthiko’s 15.
The trend trickled down to the second vice-president race, where Othaniel Hara, also from Nyamilandu’s camp, amassed 21 votes as well against Lameck Khonje’s 15.
Nyamilandu’s #RaisingTheBar manifesto had conquered Mwenda’s ‘Football Rebirth’.
“The journey to the bar has commenced. I would like to thank God for this victory and also to you the affiliates for trusting in me again to lead FAM for the next four years.
“And to my family, my team and all friends for your support. Together we can. It is time to develop our football. It is time to raise the bar,” said Nyamilandu after the elections.
In executive committee members’ race, Rashid Ntelera, Chimango Munthali and Christopher Kuyera were elected ordinary members.
Muhammad Seleman and Davies Saddo tied twice, forcing two re-runs.
Felistas Dossi got female executive committee member post unopposed.
Though the general assembly’s agenda had 14 items, Southern Region Football Association (SRFA) chairperson Raphael Humba moved a motion to change it so that other items should be removed and go directly to elections due to security reasons.
The house voted for the idea and after Nyamilandu’s brief statement, the executive committee was dissolved to pave the way for the elections conducted by FAM electoral committee.
Although Malawi Police Service mounted two roadblocks, supporters of both sides still breached the blockade.
When the results started trickling in, Mwenda’s supporters threatened to storm the conference hall in protest against the defeat, forcing the police to fire tear gas.
Fifa and Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) officials were among observers during the polls.