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Philip Chiyangwa, Omega Sibanda sensationally booted out as ZIFA bosses

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Phillip Chiyangwa

Felton Kamambo is the new ZIFA president after he sensationally beat incumbent Philip Chiyangwa in the national football mother body’s elections held in Harare yesterday.

Constitutionally, the winner was supposed to garner at least two-thirds of the vote but after amassing 35 to Chiyangwa’s 24, the latter withdrew his candidature just before a re-run was about to be conducted.

Just like Philip Chiyangwa, incumbent vice-president Omega Sibanda also fell by the wayside as he lost to Gift Banda by 22-37.

The only survivor from the three men who were running the country’s soccer mother body’s affairs was Philemon Machana, who was elected into the board together with Manica Diamonds secretary-general Sugar Chagonda, Rodrick Chamu Chiwanza and Brighton Malandule.

“The board is made from heaven. I have no doubt the board will deliver. We have to make our mark, work hard for the development of football in the country. What we can promise the country is that we have not forgotten what we promised in the run-up to the elections.

“Just check our manifesto, we are going to deliver exactly what we said.”

Yet before the elections, Kamambo along with Banda had been disqualified from taking part in the polls by the ZIFA electoral college who cited some “flimsy” reasons.

But the pair took the case to FIFA which led to their re-admission into the race for the highest football office on the land.

In fact, the world’s soccer governing body FIFA yesterday sent three observers to see to it that the whole process was conducted in a transparent manner.

Kamambo and his newly-elected board know they are inheriting an association ridden with a heavy debt. He, however, maintained that through good governance, ZIFA will make big strides in offsetting that.

Of course, we will be focusing more on developing the game but at the same time, we know the fruits which corporate governance can bring. We will engage stakeholders and map the way forward. What we want at the end of the day is to see a vibrant system which brings success on and off the field.”

Football stakeholders immediately started congratulating Kamambo after delivering the mighty blow.

Harare City chairman Alois Masepe, an astute administrator himself, said Kamambo was a good leader who was capable of taking soccer in the country to the next level.

“Kamambo is a leader of repute. We have always called for development starting from the grassroots level. It is a welcome development that Kamambo, who has development at heart, has been elected the ZIFA president. He needs everyone’s support and as Harare City, we will back him as much as possible,” said Masepe.

Former Dynamos chairman Simon Makaza echoed Masepe’s sentiments and said the new board consists of people who see the value of football. “God is great, the ZIFA councillors now see the value of football and expectations of the owners of the game who are the fans.

“The new board must now get down to business and take our football to a certain stage of development . . . We can now start going back to watch football,” Makaza said.

Kamambo and his new board will also have to deliberate on the mooted August to May Premiership calendar which stakeholders rejected yesterday.

The stakeholders held their annual meeting before the elections.

The Premier Soccer League had written to ZIFA proposing for the alteration as they wanted the local season to be in line with professional leagues.

Already the Confederation of African Football has shifted the season for the CAF Champions League as well as the CAF Confederations Cup.

The change in the CAF calendar mid this year meant the PSL had to handpick representatives for the two competitions which started early this month.

While FC Platinum, who were the reigning league champions, took the offer to participate in the Champions League, the then Chibuku Super Cup holders Harare City rejected the offer, citing inadequate preparation time.

But the move by CAF to align their schedule with other international bodies prompted the PSL to consider changing the local season.

Modalities were already on the ground to ensure a smooth transition from the March to November to the August to May period, including a stop-gap tournament to keep the teams active between January and May.
But it was always going to be a tough task coming up with a unanimous position given a lot of factors needed to be considered before the shift.

And yesterday the gathering was a discordant lot with stakeholders divided over the matter.

Although the issue was not wholly thrown out of the window, no changes will be effected until at least after this coming season.

It was resolved that the next term as has been always the case begins in March and ends in November whilst deliberations on the way forward are discussed. Improper infrastructure in the country is the major area of concern for the mooted shift in season.

Not even a single stadium in the country has an effective drainage system to withstand the normally unforgiving peak rains, especially between December and March.

Given that the change would be blanket, it meant lower division leagues would have been left with no stadium to play on as most of their games are played on community grounds which are practically unplayable during the rainy season.

The same fate would have befallen the Women Soccer League not to mention spectators.

PLS chairman Farai Jere, who was elected into office in September this year, said the change is on course despite being shelved.

“Some councillors objected the shift in the season citing lack of proper infrastructure and some logistical issues.

“However, the change is still on, deliberations will be made going forward,” said Jere.

The Herald

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BUSINESS

Zimbabwe agrees to pay $3.5 billion compensation to white farmers

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Zimbabwe White Farmers

Zimbabwe agreed on Wednesday to pay $3.5 billion in compensation to Zimbabwe white farmers whose land was expropriated by the government to resettle black families, moving a step closer to resolving one the most divisive policies of the Robert Mugabe era.

But the southern African nation does not have the money and will issue long term bonds and jointly approach international donors with the farmers to raise funding, according to the compensation agreement.

Two decades ago Mugabe’s government carried out at times violent evictions of 4,500 Zimbabwe white farmers and redistributed the land to around 300,000 Black families, arguing it was redressing colonial land imbalances.

The agreement signed at President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s State House offices in Harare showed white farmers would be compensated for infrastructure on the farms and not the land itself, as per the national constitution.

Details of how much money each farmer, or their descendants, given the time elapsed since the farms were seized, was likely to get were not yet clear, but the government has said it would prioritise the elderly when making the settlements.

Farmers would receive 50% of the compensation after a year and the balance within five years. Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube and acting Agriculture Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri signed on behalf of the government, while farmers unions and a foreign consortium that undertook valuations also penned the agreement.

“As Zimbabweans, we have chosen to resolve this long-outstanding issue,” said Andrew Pascoe, head of the Commercial Farmers Union representing  Zimbabwe white farmers.

The land seizures were one of Mugabe’s signature policies that soured ties with the West. Mugabe, who was ousted in a coup in 2017 and died last year, accused the West of imposing sanctions on his government as punishment.

The programme still divides public opinion in Zimbabwe as opponents see it as a partisan process that left the country struggling to feed itself. But its supporters say it has empowered landless Black people. Mnangagwa said the land reform could not be reversed but paying of compensation was key to mending ties with the West. Reuters

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NEWS

Chinamasa calls U.S. ambassador ‘thug’ as anti-government protests loom

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Chinamasa

Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party on Monday called the United States ambassador a “thug” and accused him of funding the opposition ahead of this week’s planned anti-government protests that authorities say are meant to overthrow the government.

Without providing evidence, ZANU-PF spokesman Patrick Chinamasa told reporters that U.S. ambassador to Harare, Brian Nichols, was involved in subversive activities to topple President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

Chinamasa’s comments echo the Robert Mugabe era, where the ZANU-PF government regularly accused the United States and Britain of seeking to dislodge it from power.

“He (Nichols) continues to engage in acts of undermining this republic and if he does so, if he continues engaging in acts of mobilising and funding disturbances, coordinating violence and training insurgents, our leadership will not hesitate to give him marching orders,” Chinamasa said.
“Diplomats should not behave like thugs, and Brian Nichols is a thug.”

The U.S. embassy in Harare did not immediately respond to Chinamasa’s comments. Political tensions are rising fast in the southern African nation after activists called for demonstrations on July 31 against government corruption, which they blame for deepening the worst economic crisis in more than a decade.

Last month, the government summoned Nichols after a senior White House official said Zimbabwe was among “foreign adversaries” using the civil unrest in the United States following the death of George Floyd to interfere in U.S. affairs.

The U.S., Britain, E.U. embassies and the United Nations have all criticised Zimbabwe for the arrest of journalists and political challengers.
Relations between Zimbabwe and the West were promising when Mnangagwa replaced Mugabe after a coup in 2017, but have soured over the government’s human rights record.

Patrick Chinamasa urged party supporters to defend themselves from protesters and avoid a repeat of the deadly violence that followed post-election demonstrations in August 2018 and the January 2019 protests over a steep fuel price hike.“No, this time no. Use any means at your disposal to defend yourselves,” Chinamasa said. Organisers say this week’s protests will be peaceful. Reuters

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HEALTH

Perence Shiri, Zimbabwe Agriculture Minister Dies

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Perrence-Shiri-Dead

Zimbabwe’s agriculture minister Perence Shiri, a retired general who helped plot the ouster of Robert Mugabe in a 2017 coup, has died, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Wednesday.

Perence Shiri, who commanded the air force for 25 years until he joined the government in 2017, was admitted to hospital on Tuesday, two government sources said. He died in the early hours of Wednesday.

“Shiri was a true patriot, who devoted his life to the liberation, independence and service of his country,” Mnangagwa said in a statement. He did not say how Shiri died.

But domestic media said Shiri, 65, succumbed to complications from the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, which has infected 2,817 and killed 40 in Zimbabwe.

A liberation war veteran,Perrence Shiri had a chequered past. He commanded the army’s Fifth Brigade unit that carried out the 1980s massacres of thousands of civilians in western Zimbabwe as the government sought to quell an insurgency.

The army massacres, known as ‘Gukurahundi’, a Shona term meaning the ‘early rain that washes away the chaff’, remain a sore point for the people of the Matabeleland region, many of whom demand justice and reparations.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change accused Perence Shiri of being among the security chiefs who organised violence against its members after Mugabe lost the first round of the presidential vote in 2008.Reuters

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