Bid to stop ZIFA elections fails

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HE High Court in Harare has thrown out a bid by freelance journalist Hope Chizuzu to have the ZIFA elections stopped with the court finding no urgency in the application and paving the way for the December 5 poll to go ahead without hindrance.

High Court judge Justice Joseph Musakwa in dismissing Chizuzu’s case also noted that the applications had some flaws with the court satisfying itself the journalist would not suffer an damage if the application was struck off the roll of urgent matters.

Chizuzu had sought to derail the staging of the elections to choose on a new ZIFA board after questioning the composition of the ZIFA Electoral Committee, chaired by retired Labour Court judge Justice Sello Nare.

The former Monomotapa official had cited ZIFA as the sole respondents in his application, forcing the association’s chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze to file opposing affidavits and arguing that Chizuzu had no locus standi to contest the pending elections.ZIFA-hOUSE-800x500_c

Justice Musakwa made five key observations that led him to arrive on the decision to strike off the application from the roll of urgent matters.

The High Court judge also noted that Chizuzu’s application was discordant and seemed to have been hurriedly put together.

Justice Musakwa also appeared to agree with respondent — Mashingaidze — that Chizuzu had not exhausted all the remedies available to him through the football channels before rushing to the court.

In his ruling, which was released through the registrar of the High Court, Justice Musakwa ruled that:

This matter does not qualify to be heard on urgent basis

The application appears to have been prepared in a hurry such that there is discordance between the averments made in the certificate of urgency and the founding affidavit regarding whether the application filed nomination papers

If the applicant has not seen the minutes on the appointment of electoral committee it is not clear why he alleges it was not appointed by the respondent

Irreparable harm founding urgency is not well articulated. The contention that the pending elections might be nullified in future cannot amount to irreparable harm

Here are other satisfactory remedies available to the applicant. Therefore the matter is removed from the roll of urgent matters”.

Yesterday’s ruling means that the 16 candidates who are vying for posts on the ZIFA board including the four presidential aspirants — James Takavada, Leslie Gwindi, Trevor Carelse Juul and Philip Chiyangwa — can proceed with their campaign trails ahead of the elections.

The ruling also means that Mashingaidze, who was left in sole charge of ZIFA following the October 3 decision by the assembly to revoke the mandate of the board, can proceed with putting final logistics related to the elections.

FIFA and the Sport and Recreation Commission are expected to send representatives to supervise the elections.

In his application filed last Friday Chizuzu had argued that had argued that are contained in a letter he wrote to ZIFA last Friday, where he sought the postponement of the elections until his complaints were dealt with.

“Article 3 of the code clearly states that only members of ZIFA shall constitute the electoral committee. Article 10 of the constitution itself does describe who the members of the ZIFA are. These are fully admitted affiliates of ZIFA as listed therein,” read part of the letter.

“It cannot be said with any seriousness that the committee of Messrs Tendai Madzorera, retired Labour Court Judge Honourable Sello Nare, Musekiwa Mbanje, TK Hove, Tichawana Nyahuma, Ralph Maganga and Madam Elizabeth Banda are members of ZIFA as defined by the constitution and were installed by the ZIFA congress.

“This is more so when one reads article 3(3) together with article 5 (6). Even assuming the congress did indeed install them such an installation would be wrong and unconstitutional as that power is not there in the governing documents.

“I make that point Elizabeth Banda, being an employee of government, is prohibited by the code from being a member of the committee and Messrs Masunda and Bwanya have been in that committee for more than two terms, which is against the code, which limits the term of the committee or any member therefore to two terms.

“I’m afraid that the process is susceptible to legal challenge by any losing candidate and should that happen, we would have wasted time and resources on an exercise that we knew to be illegal.

“The whole process is, therefore, tainted with illegality and should be stopped forthwith.”