Enock Muchinjo/Itai Dzamara
EMBATTLED Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) chairman Peter Chingoka could face a vote of no confidence when the cricket body holds a potentially volatile meeting next month. <
The annual general meeting (AGM) comes against a background of endless squabbling which com-pelled the International Cricket Council (ICC) last month to suspend Zimbabwe’s remaining Test matches this year following the dismissal of 15 senior white players by the ZCU.
Tension-filled meetings by theMatabeleland and Midlands provi-nces recently over the stand-off between the ZCU and the fired rebel players saw some members advocating the adoption of a motion to dump Chingoka and his board.
This comes at a time when the 14-day ultimatum issued by the ICC last week to the ZCU and the rebel players to solve their impasse is lapsing without any progress.
In fact, IndependentSport this week established that the rebel players and their lawyer would be travelling to England next week to meet the ICC.
“We have resolved that cricket needs to be saved from the current chaos and that could only be done through a leadership renewal,” said a source within the Midlands provincial leadership.
“We have been consulting withother provinces and there is consensus on this matter. The only opportunity, given the politics behind all this chaos, is at the annual general meeting.”
The ZCU leadership matter could be settled at next month’s AGM, where elections for the entire board would also be held.
Although anti-Chingoka senti-ment is swirling in the provinces, IndependentSport has gathered that the controversial chairman’s detractors may face an uphill task in their endeavour to oust him and his colleagues.
Investigations by this paper reveal that Chingoka has so much control and influence over the structures that he could manipulate the elections.
The polls will be run by the Integration Implementation Co-mmittee led by Ozias Bvute, a current ZCU board member who is nominated by government.
Bvute’s committee will elect a board selection panel, which would in turn choose 10 directors from a total of 28 nominations. Half of the nominations are done by an Integration Task Force Committee, which works under Bvute’s team.
“After being elected the new board will elect the chairman and his vice and it is clear that going by the composition and influence of the Integration Implementation Committee, Chingoka has a good chance of bouncing back,” said a highly placed source.
“The only changes that might actually occur could be the ouster of about four of the current directors who are viewed as not pro-Chingoka’s current policies.”
Efforts to obtain comment from Chingoka and Bvute were unsuccessful, as ZCU commu-nications manager Lovemore Banda said all media queries were now being done through him.
“There is a constitutional provi-sion in place in terms of how the next board will be elected,” Banda said later in a statement.
The tone of the ZCU AGM has already been set by the tense Matabeleland Cricket Association meeting held last week, when clubs threatened to pass a vote of no confidence in re-elected chairman Mahommed Esat “for his failure to represent the province’s position against Chingoka’s policies”.
Meanwhile, Chris Venturas, lawyer of the 15 rebel white players, will next week lead a delegation to England to meet the ICC and play two fundraising matches in London.
Venturas said the rebel team, known as the Red Lions, has been invited by the Wimbledon Cricket Club to play on the occasion of the club’s 150th anniversary.
“It’s not a rebel tour as it has been dubbed. We are going there on a fundraising mission to raise money for our legal fees,” he said.
“We will also be going to meet the ICC to talk about our legal case. We want them to be open to us and advise us how long it will take and for the ICC to tell us if there is any point in carrying on with the issue. We also want to see if they are committed to find a lasting solution to this case.”
The players’ representative, Clive Field, former captain Heath Streak and Grant Flower will together with Venturas meet an ICC delegation during the tour.
Venturas also revealed that if the players won their legal battle against the ZCU on international arbitration, the union is likely to be forced to retain them on the payroll for five years as they would have been unfairly dismissed.
“The ZCU has presented to the ICC proposals through which the stand-off with the players could be resolved,” said Banda. “Meanwhile, any of the players is free to come back as long as they do that unconditionally.”
The Red Lions will play two 20-over matches at the Wimbledon against Lashings, a select side of former international players residing in England, and another select side of expatriate Zimbabwean players that include Andy Flower, Murray Goodwin, Henry Olonga, Neil Johnson and Paul Strang.