The battle for the next FAM presidency at the forthcoming elections in December has taken an interesting twist after incumbent first vice-president James Mwenda declared his interest in the position.
Mwenda, who is FAM president Walter Nyamilandu’s lieutenant and longtime associate, announced his intention to contest yesterday, saying after serving as first vice-president he now wants to lead the association.
His decision comes as Nyamilandu is pondering whether to seek a fifth term, a decision which would see the two face-off at the polls.
Mwenda said he made the decision after consulting several people, including affiliates who vote at the association’s polls.
“I have come to that decision after several consultations with people that are in football as well as other stakeholders involved in football,” he said.
On his chances of making it to the top of the association, Mwenda said he would wait for others to declare their interest to contest.
“It’s a competition and you don’t underrate anybody. I cannot comment much as of now in terms of my chances because I don’t know whom I am competing against,” he said.
Reacting to Mwenda’s declaration to contest, Nyamilandu said he saw it coming.
“The door is open to any candidate and his announcement hasn’t come as a surprise because he has been positioning himself for that for a long time,” said Nyamilandu.
He, however, said this would not affect his decision on whether to contest.
“I won’t make an emotional decision nor have a knee jerk reaction to the stance taken by James Mwenda,” he said.
But Mwenda refused to comment on the possibility of his boss contesting at the polls.
“It will be difficult to comment on people who have not declared their interest openly,” he said.
On his relationship with his boss Mwenda said: “It’s a president and his vice relationship. I have always enjoyed working with my president. I respect him. We will continue working together until we finish our mandatory term in December.”
Football analyst Charles Nyirenda said Mwenda’s decision to contest should be a wake-up call for Nyamilandu to step aside in December.
“I don’t think Mwenda can decide to contest before consulting the affiliates,” he said.
Mwenda’s football administration career started in Mchinji where he headed the district’s football committee after retiring from active football.
From there he rose to the position of Central Region Football Association (CRFA) general secretary, a position he held for 10 years from 2001 to 2011.
He was elected FAM executive member in 2011 and rose to FAM first vice-president in 2015.
Mwenda is currently Fifa match commissioner and administration instructor.
He is also a member of Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) subcommittee, a position he has held since 2011.
Locally, he heads FAM technical and youth subcommittee and is also board chair of Malawi Anti-Doping Association.