Darlington Majonga/Enock Muchinjo
MACSOOD Ebrahim, central in the race dispute that rocked Zimbabwe cricket last year, could face criminal charges after he allegedly racially insulted a black cricket officia
l in Masvingo this week.
Police in Masvingo are investigating allegations that Ebrahim, of Indian descent, branded controversial cricket administrator Lazarus Zizhou a “black c**t”.
Zizhou was reinstated last week as Masvingo provincial manager after he had been suspended over charges of sexually harassing a female workmate. A probe into the allegations is said to have proven him innocent, and Zimbabwe Cricket reinstated him, a source claims.
Ebrahim is said to have stormed Zizhou’s office this week, demanding to see his letter of reappointment. Nick Nsingo, who has been acting Masvingo provincial manager, has since been re-assigned to Matabeleland.
“Macsood stormed into my office and threatened to remove me,” Zizhou told IndependentSport yesterday. “He called me a black c**t after I refused to produce my letter of appointment as he was demanding.”
“I could not cooperate with him because he has no power to do so since he was booted out by the province.”
Ebrahim has refused to step down as Masvingo provincial chairman, saying the move to oust him was unconstitutional.
The Masvingo provincial board last Friday passed a vote of no confidence in Ebrahim, accusing him of acting without the province’s approval in a plot to oust Zimbabwe Cricket chairman Peter Chingoka and his board.
Last year Ebrahim, together with Zimbabwe Cricket managing director Ozias Bvute and former Mashonaland chairman Tavengwa Mukuhlani, was absolved of wrongdoing when the International Cricket Council (ICC) instituted a probe into racial allegations raised by rebel white cricketers.
Last month, Mashonaland chairman Cyprian Mandenge and provincial selector Bruce Makovah allegedly stopped a match in Harare and uttered racial insults.
A serious power struggle within Zimbabwe Cricket has degenerated into a racial war, with the protagonists allegedly divided into white and black camps.
The unrest in cricket deepened this week when Charlie Robertson, on behalf of provincial chairmen, submitted their concerns over the way the game is being run to ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed.
Meanwhile, Ebrahim has vowed to stay put as Masvingo chairman, claiming the vote of no confidence passed against him was illegal.
Speaking to IndependentSport earlier yesterday, Ebrahim said the Masvingo provincial board had no constitutional right to remove him, saying such action could only be taken by club delegates at the AGM who vote the chairman and the board into office.
“I have not been dismissed,” Ebrahim said. “We have six clubs in Masvingo, and only yesterday I held a meeting in my province. Five of the clubs have pledged their loyalty to me. These are the people who have the power to remove me.
“Again at that illegal meeting on Friday, only four members purportedly voted me out when the required quorum would have been five – if they had the right to do that anyway.”
A faction of the Manicaland Cricket Association has also refuted claims that the provincial association’s chairman, Alan Walsh, had been suspended at a charged meeting in Mutare on Monday.
Gibson Mangongo, a board member in Manicaland, told IndependentSport yesterday that the provincial board had resolved to convene a special meeting on November 15, and that attempts to remove Walsh were not binding and unconstitutional.
“There were things which were said at the meeting in the heat of the argument, and it was suggested that Walsh be suspended,” said Mangongo. “But those things were not official, and were not recorded on the minutes of the meeting. If anything is going to happen, it will be at that meeting on November 15.”
Richie Gwata, the Manicaland vice-chairman, was said to have taken over the chairmanship from Walsh until the province’s AGM next year.
Mangongo confirmed discontent with Walsh arose following his role in the dossier by the provincial chairmen against the Zimbabwe Cricket board without the mandate of the clubs in the province.
“The issue was that Alan Walsh acted in his individual capacity. We are not saying there are no issues that have to be addressed in Zimbabwe Cricket,” Mangongo said. “We also have been affected by some of the issues being raised by the provincial chairmen. What we are saying is it needed the input of all stakeholders in the province.”
Journalist and Mighty Movies boss Supa Mandiwanzira, whose presence at the Manicaland meeting raised eyebrows, yesterday distanced himself from the internal politics in the game, saying his role at the meeting was inactive.
“I was never involved,” Mandiwanzira told IndependentSport yesterday. “I was just sitting there and getting a feeling of cricket issues in Manicaland. I was invited to the meeting by the vice-chairman on the basis of my chairmanship of Dangamvura Cricket Club, a club that I help to source sponsorship for.
“There was a proposal to co-opt me after what I have done for Dangamvura. If people thought that I would add value to the board, who am I to say no?”
There have been allegations of underhand plans by the Zimbabwe Cricket hierarchy to sway individuals into disowning their chairmen after they publicly opposed the manner in which cricket is being administered.
Chingoka said meetings in the provinces had been held to explain the unrest in the game. “Various stakeholders had asked for our explanation on the issues affecting cricket,” Chingoka said.
“We speak to people all the time. They come to Harare, we go to them. When people want to have things explained, we have a duty to explain that. If you explain something to stakeholders and they take action from that, then it is their prerogative.
“The other thing is also that in Manicaland they already had a scheduled meeting, so the stakeholders there came to us with issues they wanted us to clarify before their meeting.”