A meeting called by some concerned Big Bullets FC supporters on Wednesday resolved to push for immediate elections of both the executive and supporters committee, claiming they are operating unconstitutionally.
The supporters agreed to propose January 25 as the date for supporters elections and, thereafter, seek board of trustees’ approval to hold elections for the executive committee.
The meeting, that was held at Kanjedza Primary School ground in Blantyre, was chaired by the flamboyant former supporters committee vice-chairperson Isaac Jomo Osman and was presided over by Mabvuto Chibambo.
However, Bullets general secretary Higger Mkandawire and supporters secretary Frank ‘Nyau’ Msiska said they do not recognise the resolutions of the meeting because it was convened illegally.
Apart from Osman and Chibambo, there were some current and former executive members, former supporters committee leaders and members as well as former players.
Chibambo told the gathering that they had called for the meeting to get their views on how best to reorganise their team “whose performance has gone down due to mismanagement, one of which is that we have an executive committee that is operating unconstitutionally and is being run by a few individuals”.
He also alleged that most of the team’s revenue such as from sale of players, sponsorship, promotional earnings, gate collections and the clubhouse is not benefiting the players.
“A good example is the sale of Gabadinho Mhango. The current leadership claims that they got a meagre K3 million (US$7 177) from the deal, yet there is documented evidence that Bloemfontein Celtic paid in excess of K12 million. Where did the rest of the money go?” wondered Chibambo.
He also alleged that the clubhouse at Mandala is owned by an individual who uses the team’s brand to make money, and that was why they were not allowed to hold that meeting there.
Asked why they did not inform the supporters committee about the meeting, Chibambo claimed it was because their suggestion to call for elections was rejected by their counterparts.
Osman claimed that the club was being run as a personal estate by a few individuals who had resorted to intimidation to remain in control.
“But what we are saying is that this team is the ‘People’s Team’ and all those that love and follow it should be allowed to contribute their views. We want the welfare of the players to be the priority and not the current trend where certain individuals get more than the players,” he said.
Some supporters from the zones, notably Mponda (Manase), Manze Chikoti (Chilobwe), Frazer Soko (Chirimba) and Robert Banda (Bangwe) took turns to endorse the decision to call for elections.
But Mkandawire said the meeting was illegal because it was not sanctioned by the club’s structures.
“We cannot comment on the outcome of a meeting that was organised illegally. The executive, the trustees and even our supporters committee members were not aware of the meeting.
“And why conduct a meeting elsewhere like political parties when we have a clubhouse? This was an illegal gathering. Genuine Bullets fans use proper channels to organise such meetings,” said Mkandawire.
He also said the executive is not clinging to positions as the section of the supporters are claiming because they had already announced that they will call for an AGM where a decision on whether to have elections will be made.
“As for us, we already stated our position that we will not contest even if some supporters are urging us to continue,” said Mkandawire.
He also dismissed claims that the club’s revenue including the clubhouse benefits individuals.
Msiska claimed that the organisers did not inform the supporters committee about the meeting.
“Amenewo ndi owukira, ofuna kubweretsa chisokonezo [they are just confusionists]. At the last meeting we had with the trustees, we were advised to come up with a joint date for the elections, and we are surprised that they went behind our backs and addressed this illegal meeting,” he said.
“As far as we are concerned, we are meeting today and it is that meeting which will determine the way forward. For your information, some of the people that were organising the meeting were arrested for stealing the team’s proceeds from the gate. Can such people be trusted with the team’s management?” wondered Msiska.