Morality versus constitutionality

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WHEN newly elected Zifa president Phillip Chiyangwa (pictured) hinted in December 2015 that he was only interested in completing the term of the deposed Cuthbert Dube, the statement was almost lost in the euphoria of the moment.

By Enock Muchinjo

Phillip Chiyangwa

Quite clearly at that time, Chiyangwa — a newcomer in football politics — was unaware of the comforts and privileges that come with the position: hobnobbing with the top end of society across the world, the myriad of opportunities, VIP treatment across the globe, financial gains and everything in between.

Neither did he know that, in no time, he would rise meteorically to become one of the most influential leaders in African football, having played perhaps the biggest role in dislodging Issa Hayatou, the long-serving and increasingly unpopular head of the game on the continent.

Power is sweet, and having risen so fast through the ranks of African football, one would not really expect Chiyangwa to stick to his electoral rhetoric of 2015 and walk away.

At the very least, though, what you expected was that the Chiyangwa administration would hold board elections when their term of office expires at the end of March.

But in a dramatic twist of events, the Zifa legal team this week discovered a technical loophole in the Zifa elections which supposedly stipulates that Chiyangwa still legally has some two more years at the helm of Zimbabwean football.
It is a shocker of a discovery and, of course, the extents Chiyangwa has gone to remain in office raises a great deal of suspicion.

The dally-dallying with elections is quite bewildering considering the background and situation on the ground.
Chiyangwa’s victory in 2015 was resounding, notwithstanding the allegations of vote-buying and bribery, which were never supported with solid evidence anyway.

And even as the list of critics continues to grow, no strong candidate has emerged to challenge Chiyangwa and, given the nature of the electorate, he would seem destined to walk over his opponents again if elections were to be held.
So why does he appear to fear elections?

Chiyangwa has really come out guns blazing in his quest to keep his post for much longer.

The tone of his statement in his fight against the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), who have ordered him to hold elections, tells a story of how he has fallen in love with his position and how determined he is not to let go.

In reacting to the SRC’s intervention, Chiyangwa has simply stuck up his middle finger at the country’s sport regulatory body and told them to mind their business.

Constitutional experts should help clear the air with regards to Chiyangwa’s term and the holding of elections.
But for the sake of this argument, let us assume that there is indeed that technicality in the constitution which allows Chiyangwa to complete a four-year term.

The Zifa lawyer, Itai Ndudzo, is clearly no slouch at constitutional matters, it appears.

He has probably stumbled upon a big, fat loophole in the Zifa constitution — dusted up the old document and waved it triumphantly in front of reporters.

But for Chiyangwa to cling on to power on the grounds of this controversial technicality is certainly against rational consensus. He will have to decide if this is the means with which he wants to prolong his tenure as Zifa president.
Or, perhaps, he simply does not care.

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