Some of the aspirants rolling up their sleeves to challenge Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu, when he seeks a fourth four-year term this December 18, face a constitutional battle of eligibility.
Aspirants such as Owen Chomanika, Ali Mwachande, Kelvin M’mangisa, John- Gift Mwakhwawa and Wilkins Mijiga have expressed interest to challenge Nyamilandu, who U-turned last month to stand again.
A sticky requirement stipulated in FAM constitution is that candidates must have served in mainstream football administration at FAM affiliate level for five consecutive years prior to elections, which according to interpretation, on paper may render the likes of Mwakhwawa and Mijiga ineligible.
FAM legal subcommittee chairperson Jabbar Alide yesterday advised presidential aspirants to study diligently the constitution, which he noted, does not refer to those who served in the association’s adhoc committees.
“Serving in a committee of an affiliate does not mean that you have served as an affiliate. FAM as an institution is like a club. Being an association, FAM has membership and members are affiliates. The constitution is designed to regulate the relationship between FAM as a corporate body and its affiliates,” Alide argued.
“That requirement is basically looking at the promotion of these people who have served in various affiliates of FAM. The constitution, in fact, just falls short of saying candidates must be affiliates only. It becomes difficult applying this interpretation to those serving in adhoc committee of FAM.”
Mwakhwawa and Mjiga have premised their presidential aspirations, which are subject to being nominated by the affiliates, on having served in FAM subcommittees for competitions and discipline, among others.
However, Mwakhwawa refused to further deeper in talk about his eligibility, stressing that “you can trust that I am a lawyer and therefore, I am slightly better placed than my colleagues in personally interpreting the FAM constitution.”
On his part, Mijiga said: “I consulted before I decided to stand during the elections and I will deal with these issues, which are being brought forward by the incumbent committee just to avoid competition.”
The association’s constitution defines an affiliate “as a league, committee and any other body affiliated to FAM” while categorising them as “leagues/regional associations subordinate to FAM and groups linked to football. This includes players, coaches, referees and the women football.”
Meanwhile, Zodiak Broadcasting Station has upped the bar for the FAM elections by announcing plans to host an unprecedented red-carpet debate for the presidential aspirants this October 31 at Bingu International Conference Centre, the station’s managing director Gospel Kazako has confirmed.
“This will be a red-carpet event. FAM is a custodian of football emotions and when a team loses it concerns all of us; hence, it is critical that the scrutiny of the candidates must not only be monopolised by affiliates. The whole nation must hear why these candidates are interested in the position,” Kazako explained.
Kazako will work hand in hand with several stakeholders, including the Sports Writers Association (Swam).—Additional reporting by SOLOMON MANDA.