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Chiyangwa's parliament allies want Zifa disbanded

by Staff reporter
13 Mar 2020 at 15:48hrs | Views
PARLIAMENTARIANS yesterday demanded the dissolution of the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) board for allegedly sleeping on the job and looting the association's resources.

Led by MDC MP for Southerton, Peter Moyo, in the National Assembly yesterday, legislators from across the political divide, including independent Norton MP Temba Mliswa and Zanu-PF's Omega Sibanda (Vungu), the lawmakers accused Sports minister Kirsty Coventry of protecting the Felton Kamambo-led Zifa executive.

"We want you to make sure the Zifa accounts are audited. We do not care about being banned for interference as long as we are doing the right thing. The Zifa executive is an embarrassment; they are in the business of banning anyone who dares to ask them to be accountable when it is clear they are looting money.

"This august House must intervene and the minister must stand up to this nonsense. We cannot have Zifa being led by criminals," Moyo said.

He was debating a ministerial statement on the state of affairs of the country's football that Coventry had presented in the National Assembly in which the minister admitted that there were problems at Zifa which she vowed to tackle.

On his part, Mliswa dismissed Coventry's assertion that the government had no power to demand accountability on finances received by Zifa from either Fifa or the Confederation of African football (Caf) as it would be tantamount to interference.

"Fifa also want the laws of the country to be respected. If you want to become the most popular minister you should disband all the sports associations in the country and come up with a proper sports development plan.

"It is a shame that Parliament is allowing people who loot national resources to remain in office. Who cares about being banned in the country at present?" asked Mliswa, advising the minister to seek advice from former Zifa president Phillip Chiyangwa.

He got support from Zanu-PF MP for Chegutu West Dexter Nduna, who weighed in saying, "If Chiyangwa was still at the helm, we would not be where we are".

Contributing to the debate, Sibanda, who is Chiyangwa's former vice president, slammed Zifa for not taking action when Caf raised the red flag over the suitability of Barbourfields Stadium to host international matches.

"There is a letter from Fifa that says they can request for an exemption for two years or so until they put their house in order, so Zifa can be disbanded on that basis.

"The people at Zifa are not serious because they were given notice on the state of the stadia last year and there have been follow-ups from Caf, but they did not act," Sibanda said.

In her response, Coventry stood her ground, saying it was not in the national interest to have the national team banned from football because of government interference.

She also resisted the call to consult Chiyangwa in his capacity as Cosafa president.

"Cosafa has no influence in Caf and Fifa. It is a mere regional body and I have not been told by Fifa or Caf that Chiyangwa is their point person. When he made attempts to contact Caf, the attempt ended up making my work difficult as Caf officials felt they had not been given respect and I had to step in," Coventry insisted.

The debate later degenerated into chaos as Mliswa insisted that the government had grounds to make Zifa accountable since Fifa also condemns theft.

"You cannot come here to be arrogant. You need to respect us whether black or white," Mliswa shouted with the support of MDC legislators, who also stood up pointing fingers at the visibly angry Coventry as she threatened to leave the House.

With the support of some Zanu-PF MPs led by Goodluck Kwaramba, who almost came close to a fist fight with MDC leader in Parliament Tabitha Khumalo over the heated debate, Coventry later composed herself and apologised to the legislators.

She told the MPs that government only had power to follow up on its own finances and that Zifa had since been instructed to produce its audited financial statements.

Source - dailynews