Teams shun AGMs

Mkandawire: We must be accountable
Mkandawire: We must be accountable

Most Super League clubs no longer hold annual general meetings (AGMs) to tackle strategic issues such as presentation of financial, performance assessment reports and hold elections as required by their respective constitutions.

The development has led to the clubs operating without clear direction; hence, they are unable to conduct an autopsy and plan for the future, leading to loss of confidence by current and potential sponsors.

Mighty Wanderers lost their MTL sponsorship in 2010 due to disorganisation while their rivals Big Bullets failed to secure sponsorship from Mulli Brothers Group of Companies and Petroda for similar reasons a few years ago.

Apart from Silver Strikers and military clubs, most top-flight league teams are not accountable to the people that put them in office.

According to Nation on Sunday findings, Bullets, Wanderers, Azam Tigers, Blantyre United and Epac are some of the teams that have not held AGMs for over three seasons while others such as Civo United only tackled elections the last time they held an AGM.

It was also agreed during the 2009 Lilongwe Declaration initiated by Fifa in the quest to commercialise the top-flight league that clubs should produce audited accounts annually.

According to Article 5 of Bullets constitution adopted in September  2002, the club’s AGM is supposed to be held not later than September of every year where, among other things, they are supposed to receive and adopt audited statements of the club’s accounts for the year ended.

“The business [of the AGM] shall include, but not restricted to receiving and approving the budget for income and expenditure for the current year,” reads part of the constitution.

However, the last time the People’s Team held an AGM was under the Bullets Holdings Limited (BHL) administration over five years ago.

And while the constitution further states that they are supposed to hold elections for the executive committee after every three years, Bullets have not gone to the polls for over six years and the club is run by a Malinda Chinyama-led interim committee that was appointed by a section of the supporters two years ago.

Failure to hold elections has also led to internal conflicts within some clubs over leadership mandate.

Bullets general secretary Higger Mkandawire admitted that for sometime now, his team has not called for an AGM because they did not have proper structures.

“It is true that as an executive, we are supposed to be accountable to our members and supporters in accordance with the constitution, but you will agree with me that the sorry state of the team in the past seven years or so, made this impossible.

“It is only now that we are trying to reorganise the team by setting up proper structures. Otherwise, once we finalise that, we’ll be able to call for an AGM,” he said.

However, Mkandawire claimed that they do come up with financial reports, though not audited, which are submitted to some stakeholders such as sponsors Carlsberg Malawi, main supporters committee and the board of trustees.

Mkandawire, however, admitted that the financial reports do not include other income-generating activities such as gate-takings and proceeds from their clubhouse.

Similarly, the Nomads constitution also stipulates that they are supposed to hold an AGM in March every year while elections are supposed to be held every two years.

However, the Nomads have not had an AGM for the past three years. But their GS David Kanyenda was quick to point out that they called for an extraordinary general meeting during pre-season where the continuation of the current executive committee was endorsed.

He also claimed that it was during this meeting when supporters were briefed on the team’s plans, including stepping up the commercial drive and beefing up the playing personnel and technical committee.

“As for the issue of accountability, before we get a portion of sponsorship from Carlsberg [Malawi], we present documents to reconcile the previous part. Otherwise, we wouldn’t qualify for another tranche. That, in itself, demonstrates accountability,” said Kanyenda.

When it was put to him that there is more to accountability than just accounting for the sponsorship, Kanyenda said: “We have various working committees which report to the executive committee on regular basis, but indeed we can always do better.”

The last time the Nomads presented financial reports at an AGM was during the Sydney Chikoti-led executive committee almost five years ago.

The majority of the club’s current leadership was just co-opted, including key players such as chairperson George Chamangwana, Kanyenda and treasurer Davis Msadala.

But Silver Strikers general secretary Mike Tembo said it is a requirement that either at the end of the season or just before the new season, the club’s leadership should call for an AGM to account for their activities be it financial, technical or administrative.

“We get our sponsorship [from Reserve Bank] in tranches and before we get it, we are supposed to account for it in order to qualify for another tranche and auditors go through our books to see if we have managed the funds to the expectation of the sponsor. So, I would say we try to be accountable to our sponsor as well as supporters,” said Tembo.

MDF sports officer John Kaputa said it is a requirement that all military teams should hold AGMs.

A Nomads’ supporter Kim Kamau said an AGM is the only platform which supporters use to advance their views.

“For example, at Wanderers, such meetings would provide us a chance to contribute our views on how we could take the team forward, but these days it is no longer the case and yet the constitution stipulates that we are supposed to have AGMs.

“Even elections are no longer held and people are just incorporated into the executive without supporters’ involvement and it is like the team is operating without focus,” said Kamau.

“To them, they think the AGM provides supporters a chance to push for elections which is not the case,” he said.

Sulom president Innocent Bottomani said they always encourage teams to call for AGMs as part of corporate governance.

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