By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
29 March 2014
The race to win Saturday’s ZIFA chairmanship has turned nasty, with the incumbent boss Cuthbert Dube allegedly ‘kidnapping’ some councillors and putting them up at a secret location to cut them off from the rest of the people taking part in the poll.
Dube, the former Public Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) chief executive, fears that if the councillors were to mingle with others at a Harare hotel, they might be influenced to vote against him.
Such is the extent of his paranoia that he’s confiscated their mobile phone sim cards and replaced them, making it difficult for their friends and colleagues to communicate with them.
Dube also ordered all ZIFA offices countrywide to close down until after the elections. He has summoned almost all ZIFA employees to Harare to work on his last ditch campaign, after realizing he stands a good chance of defeat, following the salary-gate scandal which left his image badly dented.
The election will see Dube battling for the top job with outgoing ZIFA board member for marketing, Nigel Munyati, former ZIFA chairman Trevor Carelse-Juul and Harare city council football chairman Leslie Gwindi.
Munyati, a marketing expert who has been involved with football development for 30 years, told SW Radio Africa on Friday that Dube’s antics will not help as numbers are against him. 58 people are eligible to vote on Saturday and the winner needs 30 votes to clinch the post.
‘There’s no doubt the election tomorrow (Saturday) will ever be fair. Dube has got an unfair advantage…he’s using the whole ZIFA secretariat to support his campaign and some councillors are being held incommunicado, but these are the same people who vote for him anyway,’ Munyati said.
Veteran sports writer Michael Kariati told SW Radio Africa that is it sad that Dube is using money to try to ensure he wins re-election, despite his disastrous four year tenure as the country’s top football administrator.
There are allegations some councillors linked to Dube have been paid huge sums of money to vote for him. Out of 58 voters, at least 16 are known to be in Dube’s camp and he therefore needs an extra 14 votes to ensure he retains the chairmanship.