Local football giants Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers have given Timothy Mtambo seven days to resign as Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) chairperson.
The two teams supporters’ leadership issued the fresh ultimatum on Friday in Blantyre following the human rights activist’s refusal to withdraw his statement that he would lobby parliamentarians not to approve allocation of funds in the national budget to construct stadia for the two privately owned clubs.
Mtambo was initially given a 72-hour ultimatum to withdraw the statement, failing which the supporters threatened to hold vigils at HRDC offices in Lilongwe.
But the supporters changed their tune on Friday when they addressed a group of about 60 fans at Kamuzu Stadium where Wanderers main supporters committee chairperson Melvin Nkunika said: “We are [now] giving him [Mtambo] seven days to quit his position because he has failed his duties, having violated our rights and should be replaced by someone who will respect and accommodate our rights.
“These stadiums will create jobs for many people. To our MPs, our plea is that approve the funding for the stadiums. Leave politics out of this.”
Bullets main supporters committee secretary Mabvuto Chibambo and his Nomads counterpart Samuel Mponda warned that they would take drastic action if Mtambo sticks to his guns.
Said Chibambo: “Should he remain adamant, then we will use our structures in the Centre and North to deal with him and HRDC.
“If Mtambo is saying Bullets and Wanderers are private entities, then players from the two teams should not be called for national duty.”
Mponda claimed that the two teams jointly command a fan base of 10 million.
“Therefore, if they are truly human rights defenders, they should have supported the cause because these millions pay tax,” he said.
However, Mtambo yesterday said he would not quit and blamed the teams’supporters of channelling the issue to a wrong party.
“This is democracy and we learn with different opinions.
“Budget was presented to Parliament and if they want, they should take it to Parliament.
“They should stop issuing threats to human rights defenders and the issue of stepping down is a non-starter,” he said.
President Peter Mutharika ordered government to construct stadia for the two teams during the 2019 Tripartite Elections campaign and in the 2019/20 National Budget presented in Parliament by the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, government has allocated K1.6 billion for the projects.