Coup plot suffers stillbirth

Darlington Majonga

A PLOT to oust the entire Zimbabwe Cricket executive this week suffered a stillbirth, with Mashonaland backing off the “coup” it had instigated. This comes amid revelations of

financial irregularities in the province.


Mashonaland Cricket Association (MCA) chairman Cyprian Mandenge said his province had abandoned its “militant” approach to the row with Zimbabwe Cricket over a re-branding exercise that gobbled $600 million.


“We’ve realised it’s cricket that will suffer, so we are negotiating so that our concerns are addressed. All we want is a democratic constitution,” Mandenge told IndependentSport yesterday.


Last week Mandenge said his board would seek the full support of all the other provinces affiliated to Zimbabwe Cricket to replace the 12-strong Peter Chingoka-led board with an interim leadership.


Most provinces however snubbed the “coup” following revelations of a financial scandal and irregularities that ushered in the new Mashonaland executive.


An investigation into the running of the MCA has revealed that a $60 million payout from Zimbabwe Cricket meant for seven established clubs within the province allegedly benefited only Takashinga Sports Club, according to highly placed sources.


A confidential report on the MCA also claims some of the money was arbitrarily used to buy coloured uniforms for the province’s Vigne Cup competition.


The MCA’s move to “disassociate” itself from Zimbabwe Cricket suffered another blow this week when all but two clubs within the province pledged to fulfil national league fixtures expected to resume this weekend.


“This weekend all clubs should be playing in the Vigne Cup and most are likely to play in the national league because it’s not fair to the young boys who play the game to stop playing,” Mandenge said.


This also comes at a time former MCA chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani has resorted to legal action to overturn his ouster in December. Chingoka has refused to recognise the new MCA board, although he met Mandenge and his fellow board member Elvis Sembezeya this week.


Four provinces have distanced themselves from the MCA’s plot, while another province will meet next week to decide its position on the saga.

“We totally abhor what Mashonaland tried to do. They visited us and we told them to go to hell and made it clear to them that we would not entertain individuals agitating for a coup,” Masvingo Cricket Association chairman Macsood Ebrahim told IndependentSport this week.


“We in Masvingo are happy with the Zimbabwe Cricket re-branding exercise because proceeds from the brands will enable smaller provinces like us to establish competitive cricket sides.”


However, Matabeleland Cricket Association chairman Ahmed Essat said his province had reservations about the way the re-branding exercise had been carried out without consultation. But he said that was no reason to rebel against Zimbabwe Cricket.


“We’re not aligning ourselves to the MCA conflict because there are two factions in that province. We’ll continue playing cricket,” Essat said.


He added: “The Matabeleland province wants to understand who is responsible for the re-branding. But we can’t say because of that the whole Zimbabwe Cricket board has to go. Like in any other business, all we want is for people to be accountable.”


Hemant Patel, who heads the Midlands Cricket Association, said his province would meet to review the stance it had taken in support of the new MCA board.


“Documents presented to members of my board by the new Mashonaland executive appeared (to be) in order and following the constitution. The Midlands unanimously agreed to make public their support for Mashonaland (new board),” Patel told IndependentSport.


“(However) the Zimbabwe Cricket board meeting on January 11 was informed of constitutional flaws and irregularities in the special general meeting held in Mashonaland. In light of this challenge by the old Mashonaland executive, I decided to put on hold any public statement until I had discussed and updated my board on the new developments.”

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