CHESSAM defends its president Namangale’s nomination of players for National Championship that includes Kezzie Msukwa 

Following concerns from one of its affiliates, Southern Region Chess League (SRCL) that accused Chess Association of Malawi (CHESSAM) president Susan Namangale of “unconstitutionally” nominating players for the Easter weekend’s National Championship, the mother body explains that the whole process was done in consultation with CHESSAM legal counsel and executive members.

In essence, the Association’s understanding based on section 10 (1) (h) of the CHESSAM constitution is that the Open and Ladies sections are stand-alone tournaments (competitions) with its own structures.

The nomination includes former CHESSAM president, Kezzie Msukwa which CHESSAM publicity secretary, Alfred Chimthere indicates that the Executive Committee approved the request by the former Cabinet Minister “to play in the Open section as a special case”.

Former CHESSAM president Kezzie Msukwa

SRCL wrote the mother body to express their concerns over the nomination of more than 3 players — which are also shared by players from the North and Central regions — and to express the “dissatisfaction with the way in which genuine concerns are being addressed by office bearers”.

SRCL quoted Article 10.1 (h) of CHESSAM constitution which provides that the association’s president “shall have the power to nominate a maximum of three (3) players to participate in any tournament and that such nomination shall be approved by the Executive Committee”.

According to correspondent from Chimthere, a copy which we have have, says the nominated players are for the Open section — Ernest Matola, Mpilo Mizere and Praise Kalambo as well as Linda Jambo, Royce Msiska and Martha Kapalamula for the Ladies section.

CHESSAM president Susan Namangale

“That is why for example, both sections produce own (independent) champion, and either the pairings or ratings emanating from those two tournaments (competitions) are tabulated separately.”

However, SRCL says their concern “is purely on matters of constitutionalism other than targeting any individuals so nominated”, adding that they are “being guided by the conviction that the actions of CHESSAM committee shall be in line with the mandate, rules and regulations and statutes made or amended by the General Assembly of November 21st 2020 — hence our views are as follows:

1. That the General Assembly through the constitution in section 10 gave you powers to nominate players to any tournament;

2. That the General Assembly through the constitution and article 10 gave you and the committee limits as to how many players shall be nominated and approved respectively to any tournament;

3. That the Assembly conferred in you such powers to the extent that your nomination and approval by the committee does not exceed 3 players.

“It is in this regard that we query the existing nomination which exceeds 3 players, in the process setting wrong precedence for future office bearers and more importantly going against the wishes of members as expressed through the General Assembly that passed the existing statutes.

“Through the existing statutes, the General Assembly of 21st November 2020, vested in you and the committee powers and responsibilities which you are expected to vehemently defend.

“We request you and the committee to not heed to the demand of a few officials who are trying to use the word discretion in a wrong way. We choose NOT to query whether the existing nominations were discriminatory, considering that the majority of players nominated were from one league, for in doing so we will be questioning your discretion to nominate.”

SRCL further demands that the current nomination list communicated by CHESSAM through registered members WhatsApp group shall be withdrawn within 2 days as from date of the petition, April 6, 2022, and to nominate a new one “within the confines of CHESSAM constitution within 2 days.

SRCL also demands that the new list of nominations be approved by CHESSAM committee before it is publicised and that a copy of any resolution or minutes approving such nomination be shared with

the chairpersons of the three regional leagues — who are CHESSAM’s ex-officials within 2 days.

The league further allege that some CHESSAM executive members “are choosing to respond to genuine concerns such as this constitutional matter in a provocative manner and sometimes in a manner that dispel dissenting views instead of offering clarification and guidance in a professional manner befitting of a responsible official”.

“This too requires your attention. For instance, we believe that statements such as ‘fodya adzakupwetekani’ from the PS [Chimthere] on registered members WhatsApp group when responding to this very issue, are meant to insinuate that the persons raising a concerns such as this constitutional matter are being driven by intoxication and or drug abuse”.

“This shows the lack of seriousness, unprofessionalism and recklessness from an official(s) who thinks that by using such provocative approaches, we will just chicken away and our concerns will vanish.

“This too must be stopped and requires your leadership. While we still have time, we demand that your office and the entire committee address the issues raised herein expediently and within 2 days” — which expired on April 8.

Other sources said they are perplexed that CHESSAM chooses to communicate through through the open registered members WhatsApp forum and that Namangale unilaterally removes members she deems to have expressed dissenting views.

The explanation for the nomination was also posted on the WhatsApp group, in which Chimthere said “CHESSAM has followed with keen interest the nomination debate on the Registered WhatsApp forum and a query formally presented by SRCL general secretary”.

There were also concerns that the nominated players were from one region, which Chimthere countered, saying they were “not based on which leagues the players belong to but encompass other important factors reflecting on chess development”.

Chimthere maintained that “a clarification was officially made based on the definition of a tournament as opposed to the National Championship — stressing that the six are the nominated players in total, three in each stable, and that Msukwa was included as a special case after consensus by CHESSAM Exco.

Other sources indicated Msukwa’s inclusion was not necessary but to award to an up-and-coming players, to which Chimthere explained that such youths “have always been given a platform in many ways” giving the example of college student Praise Kalambo as one of the nominated for the National Championship.

“There are other upcoming players who have qualified properly too,” Chimthere said. “So the nomination is never the overriding issue, in some instances the CHESSAM president might choose to nominate no one. As I said, the current nominees are based on several factors including promotion of youth, ladies and veterans.

CHESSAM also expressed regret that SRCL issued an ultimatum of 2 days, saying “giving the mother body an ultimatum based on a wrong premise is an anomaly by SRCL”.

The association also disassociates CRCL and NRCL from the issues raised, saying the two leagues have no problem on the nomination and that “it is on record”.

Chimthere also explained that the Registered Members WhatsApp group was created to ease communication and interaction, saying as office bearers they “just carry out our functions for the betterment of the game using the knowledge and experience that each one of us possess and also as team. The players we serve are the better judges.”

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