Two of the three respondents to an injunction that was obtained to stop Football Association of Malawi (FAM) elections on December 12 last year in Mangochi, did not turn up for the disciplinary hearing yesterday.
Wilkins Mijiga, Willy Yabwanya Phiri and Tiya Somba Banda were summoned to a hearing which took place at FAM’s Mpira House in Chiwembe.
Only Somba-Banda appeared before the disciplinary committee composed of Arthur Nanthuru (chairperson), Allison Mbang’ombe (vice-chairperson) and members Khumbo Soko, Paula Caetano and FAM general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda.
The trio was charged with taking disputes concerning football to conventional courts of law contrary to provision of Article 68 of Fifa statutes and Article 67 of FAM statutes.
Mijiga said he would not be available for the hearing as he was attending to a ‘very important meeting’ outside Blantyre while Canada-based Yabwanya, filed a nine-point defence against the charge.
In the defence, Yabwanya said he acted, at all material times within the confines of the Fifa statutes, FAM statues, FAM electoral, and all applicable rules.
“Section 32 of the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi grants every Malawi citizen the freedom to form or join any association, including FAM. The actions of FAM in denying the respondent access to information about delegates and voters to the 2015 FAM elections affected his chances of campaigning for the FAM presidency and consequently undermined the right under Section 32 especially considering that the incumbent had easy access to such information,” the defence reads in part.
“Since the respondent’s right had been undermined, he was as a bona fide citizen of Malawi entitled to the protection and relief provided by the Constitution. Among them, the respondent is and was entitled to access any court of law or tribunal to obtain an effective remedy as provided under Section 41 (2) and (3) of the Constitution .”
The defence further argues that the respondents decided to take the matter to court after FAM violated its own rules by ignoring appeals committee decision to postpone the elections.
“It must be emphasised that in respecting the above provision, the respondent took his grievances before the electoral appeals committee of FAM which reasonably determined that the elections were to be postponed until several concerns were addressed,” the defence reads.
“From the reading of Article 12(4), it is clear that the decision of the appeal committee was to be complied with in its entirety. However, FAM decided to violate its own rules and sought clarification from a Fifa representative who has no mandate-apart from being an observer-to make a substantive decision regarding the elections.” n