Ponga Liwewe jumps to Kamanga defense as Mando led FAZ electoral appeals committee rejects Kalu’s appeal
The Football Association of Zambia – FAZ electoral appeals committee led by Lawyer Mwitumwa Mando has rejected Kalusha Bwalya’s appeal to allow Zambias most celebrated soccer icon to contest and country back as FAZ President.
According to the letter leaked to the media seen by the Zambian Business Times – ZBT, the FAZ electoral appeals committee letter that was signed off by its Chairman Mwitumwa Mando and two committee members, W. Chitungu and Mrs G. Ngoma, Kalu’s appeal was struck down on the basis that FIFA sanctioned Kalu and that the sentence and fine were only reduced but not overturned.
Kalu’s nomination had initially been rejected by the Ronald Hatongo’s electoral committee. The committee had advanced that Kalu had failed the integrity test, and went on further to issue a second letter giving further grounds that he also failed the Zambian residency tests among others.
A seperate enquiry was however initiated when Lusaka lawyer Lewis Mosho’s law firm Lewis Nathan Advocates had given Football Association of Zambia president Andrew Kamanga a 24-hour ultimatum in which to respond to allegations of theft involving K24,552.00 and US$38,000 or they will proceed to privately prosecute him for criminal acts.
The letter dated February 19, 2020 informed Kamanga that the lawyers were acting for Elijah Chileshe, and their interest in the matter should therefore be noted. The letter alleged that Kamanga, on 6th May, 2017, directed that money be paid from FAZ account in the sum of US$38,000 to Enfin Solutions Limited, a company in which he has an interest, without following established procedures and without any supporting documentation.
But former FAZ Secretary General and son to the late renowned soccer commentator Denis Liwewe, Ponga jumped to Kamanga’s defense as he was the Secretary General and chief executive officer of FAZ during the time when its alleged that Kamanga got the above payments from FAZ without supporting documentation.
Ponga stated that “I was General Secretary at the time. [The] US$38,000 was borrowed and US$38,000 was refunded. On another occasion, for the national team to travel to the 2018 CHAN tournament, when Min of Sport/Finance were unable to release funds in time, Mr. Kamanga , at the request of the ministry and to avoid Zambia failing to play the first match, also came to the rescue of the ministry, meeting the travel costs and later being refunded by the travel agency. In times of emergency, decisions have to made”.
Meanwhile, Kalu have vowed to continue the fight and confirmed that “I received the decision of the FAZ Appeals Electoral Committee in the early hours of Saturday morning 22 nd February, 2020. The decision has not surprised me. It was actually expected because the bodies that have been entrusted with conducting integrity checks, conducting elections and hearing appeals were set up in very questionable circumstances and are all lacking in jurisdiction to carry out their functions”.
Kalu further stated that “quite troubling, I have just recently come to learn that the Chairman of the FAZ Electoral Appeals Committee one Mando Mwitumwa did not declare interest of his serious conflict. I have come to learn that the law firm where he is a partner actually represented the Football Association of Zambia in the case – Richard Kazala Laski v Football Association of Zambia under Cause Number 2018/HK/ARB/002 before Mr. Justice T. I. Katanekwa. It is an elementary tenet of fairness that an individual with conflicted interest cannot preside over a matter in which he has interest. In fact, even just the appearance of conflict must cause such an individual, if he has any shred of integrity, to recuse himself”.
“I am strongly confident that I will be on the ballot papers for FAZ Elections on 28th March, 2020. The decision of the Appeals Committee is not final. The FAZ Constitution has allowed for further appellate processes beyond the Electoral Appeals Committee. The temporary setback should not be taken to heart. We shall help restore the glory of Zambian football and we shall also unite the football family” Kalusha posted.
But Kamanga seems to have anticipated a come back challenge from Kalu. He and the current FAZ executive have passed some amendments which seem to all be working in their favor with the chances of Kalu appearing on the ballot for the FAZ presidency dimishing as time for elections narrows.
Even if Kalu is to contest the elections, the electoral college has been reduced with only premier league teams and division one teams remaining as part of the voting block that Kalu may draw from. He has also been derailed by concentrating on legal battles when his rivals are busy campaigning.
Insiders at FAZ have hinted that the 4 voting delegates from each province, that comes to a total of 40 are more likely to vote to retain Kamanga as the provincial elections which voted to nominate these 4 voting delegates per province were handled by the current FAZ Vice President Rix Mweemba and Secretary General Adrian Kashala, who are seen as being aligned to the Kamanga re-election team.