Independent SportView With Darlington Majonga
ZIMBABWE Cricket (ZC) boss Peter Chingoka might breathe a huge sigh of relief after the resolution to endorse the disputed election of two members of his trouble
d board, but it would be naïve for anyone to think the end of the war threatening the future of the sport is over.
The ZC board selection panel had to reconvene last Friday after some provincial chairmen had refused to acknowledge the election of Tavengwa Mukuhlani and Wilson Manase on October 18, claiming the two had been fraudulently nominated.
It certainly wouldn’t be alarmist to predict the provincial chairmen would greet the resolution with suspicion.
But the haste with which Chingoka sought to have the election reviewed might be an indication that ZC is keen to resolve the row that threatens to finish off Zimbabwe’s cricket – already sapped of life on the field.
It’s imperative that key protagonists in the cricket war – Macsood Ebrahim, Allan Walsh, Ozias Bvute, Cyprian Mandenge, Elvis Sembezeya as well as Chingoka himself – were invited to give their views in the validation process concerning Mukuhlani and Manase.
It would have been desirable if Ahmed Esat had managed to attend as well.
After ZC conceded to most of the demands players were making in their protracted wrangle over contracts, Chingoka must be a relieved man now.
All the same, whether the confirmation of Mukuhlani and Manase is welcomed by the disputing parties or not, is inconsequential at this point in time.
The battle at hand is for Chingoka – at the helm of Zimbabwe Cricket for the past 13 years – to prove that the allegations of mismanagement and financial irregularities were part of a conspiracy to topple him, as he claims.
The provincial chairmen have raised hell over allegations of financial mismanagement as well as constitutional disregard.
They want to know why ZC made a loss for the year of $2,4 billion, why the balance sheet is not signed by the chairman and his vice, and whether the financial statements had been approved by the board of control.
The chairmen, in their dossier, also question the purchase of a state-of-the-art outside broadcasting van as well as a number of vehicles for staff. They also want justification for the creation of a marketing department.
Also the chairmen want to know whether any sports journalists were being paid monthly retainers and whether ZC sponsors the “Of Bat and Ball” column in the Zimbabwe Independent.
The allegations of improper foreign currency dealings at the union have already seen the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe instituting a probe as well as questioning Chingoka and Bvute.
The allegations are a serious indictment of Chingoka, and the veteran administrator ought to respond and prove beyond any reasonable doubt that his board is clean.
Fascinatingly Ebrahim, Walsh and Esat – the provincial chairmen who sit on the ZC board – might also have to prove beyond doubt that they are not guilty of complicity or that they were not part of the decisions they now question.
It’s unfortunate that the whole crisis seems to have been personalised, with the provincial chairmen demanding that Chingoka and Bvute quit for crimes they allegedly committed. They also want us to believe whoever has voiced their support for the board have been coerced in doing so.
The other half has dismissed the concerns as a smokescreen by “racist saboteurs” dedicated to ensuring whatever a black man touches turns to dross. They see Ebrahim – who is said to be doing everything to retain his post as convenor of selectors – as the man behind the whole crisis.
It’s all about conspiracies flying around. But no Machiavellian antics on either side will mask the rot that we all see.
The encouraging thing is that Chingoka, though he has not professed his innocence, has declared his readiness for an audit. Chingoka has offered to explain all the concerns – but at the right platform.
Regrettably, Chingoka has repeatedly failed to reconvene a board meeting since the ill-fated September 12 annual general meeting that seems to have sparked the whole fiasco.
The constitutional crisis Chingoka faces right now is a challenge bigger than the allegations he is facing. Not only does the row put a big question mark over his legitimacy, it complicates the whole crisis.
But why anyone would refuse to go for the board meeting also puts a bigger question mark over the sincerity of the provincial chairmen to have the crisis resolved urgently.
All along we have believed the chairmen as well as the players want transparency. The board meeting would be such an opportunity to hear Chingoka respond to their allegations, as well as a perfect chance to lay further questions that they may have.
It’s unfortunate the future of Zimbabwe’s cricket is under siege from smart hooliganism.
People whose thinly veiled agenda is to sate their egos at the expense of the future of the game have sabotaged the game.
Whether Chingoka and Bvute will remain in office is neither here nor there. What’s important is for the ZC board to get a quorum and resolve the crisis once and for all.
We would have suggested that the Sports and Recreation Commission play a mediating role, but then it would be stretching our luck too far that the provincial chairmen will trust the commission.
So the best is for the key stakeholders in the game to meet and talk, if they are all driven by the desire to see a bright future of the sport, as they want us to believe. If that fails, there would be no option except to let the International Cricket Council help end the impasse.