TAVENGWA Mukuhlani, who resigned as Mashonaland Cricket Association (MCA) chairman this week, said he was forced out by politics and personality clashes that have resurfaced in the province in
the past few weeks.
Although he had cited personal commitments outside cricket as the reasons for his resignation, Mukuhlani claimed that “power-hungry individuals who will blow in any direction” have joined forces to discredit him by destabilising cricket operations in the country’s largest province.
This, he said, resulted in last weekend’s refusal by clubs to play the first matches of the Mashonaland Vigne Cup after the clubs were allegedly persuaded not to play.
“There is a lot of politics in the province. At some point, you feel that you need to move on and contribute in some other way,” said Mukuhlani in an interview with IndependentSport this week.
“I had a long discussion with the Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) chairman (Peter Chingoka) and at the end he accepted that I was doing the right thing.”
Mukuhlani, who automatically loses his position on the ZC board, said a plot to oust him intensified after the ZC annual general meeting in Bulawayo last month when he tried to put into action the memorandum of understanding between the board, former dissenting players and an ad hoc committee that ZC officials should not hold conflicting dual roles in the association.
The motion led to the removal of Macsood Ebrahim, a ZC board member, from his convener role on the national selection panel. New appointments, which had former Mashonaland and Zimbabwe A player Bruce Makovah as convener, were however nullified following an appeal that the six board members who met in Bulawayo for the AGM did not constitute a quorum.
“I felt that if anyone wants to fight me, they can go ahead, but they can do so without prejudicing Mashonaland. I did not want to sacrifice Mashonaland so I decided to give in before the province was torn apart,” said Mukuhlani.
“At the AGM, I spoke strongly against dual roles in ZC. There must be a clear demarcation line between different active roles so that we do not compromise the careers of the players.
“What is there now is that there are no checks and balances. We have a case where the policy makers are the policy implementers, which means we have people being answerable to themselves. I do not believe in this. This is not a personal issue, but I felt that is not the correct thing to be done.”
Mukuhlani said he had also raised his disagreement when provincial association chairmen met during the Test matches with India last month, and nominated two selectors, Richie Kaschula and Ethan Dube, to fill two vacant positions on the board.
Mukuhlani, who chaired the transformation and constitutional review committee on the board, suggested that Ebrahim and others were allegedly instigating the problems in the province.
“We do not have serious problems in Mashonaland,” he said. “It’s only that Mashonaland is a very strong province on the field and administration-wise. Clear factions have come out with sinister agendas.
“They know that if they destabilise Mashonaland, everything will fall. If there is no cricket in Mashonaland then there won’t be cricket in Zimbabwe. The honest truth is that the clubs are fighting someone’s war,” he said in reference to the boycott by the clubs last week.
Ebrahim denied that he had anything to do with the upheavals in Mashonaland.
“These are Mashonaland internal issues and where do I get involved involved?” Ebrahim said. “I am the chairman of Masvingo. Mashonaland has been having upheavals for eight months and they have to look at themselves and stop blaming other people.
“The bottom line is that there are problems in Mashonaland, but we concentrate on cricket. We must not lose it on the bigger picture.”
Ebrahim maintained that the ZC meeting in Bulawayo was unconstitutional and that nothing substantial could have come out of it. He remains convener of the selectors until another ZC board meeting resolves the issue.
Meanwhile, new MCA chairman Cyprian Mandenge was this week trying to get a firmer grip on proceedings in the province after last week’s match boycott by the clubs. Mandenge said his board would take disciplinary measures against clubs who fail to fulfil their fixture this weekend.
“If they have genuine issues, the clubs should seek audience with the board. They have not done that,” he said.
“There are no problems in Mashonaland and we will not allow cricket to suffer because of politics.”
The board was supposed to discuss several contentious issues with the clubs at a meeting last night.