A lawyer and football analyst David Kanyenda says incumbent Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu is free to seek re-election during December polls because the law empowers him to stand.
Nyamilandu, who has been at the helm of FAM for the past 16 years, has all along insisted that he will not contest but by reading of the situation, he has signalled that he will seek re-election.
Some affiliates have publicly endorsed him saying he has the passion of football having served at different levels including regional and national.
Speaking to reporters at Ryalls Hotel where he delivered legal interpretation of the new FIFA statutes as adopted by FAM regarding eligibility of the candidates, Kanyenda, a former Wanderers FC secretary general said Nyamilandu is eligible to contest.
Kanyenda said according to FIFA ammendments made in 2015 which were adopted by all FAs including Malawi, there is now a term limit.
He said the new statutes will only apply to existing members after expiry of their current terms in December.
This means Nyamilandu’s previous terms will not count after expiry of the current term which ends December.
After December, all candidates including Nyamilandu will be free to stand for three terms of four years each.
“In 2015, FIFA amended it’s statutes in which article 32 imposes a limit of three terms of 4 years for every candidate,” Kanyenda said. “This effectively ended an era of holding office infinitely.
“The laws were adopted by FAM. Article 32 of FAM statutes approved the reforms from FIFA and stipulate that the new FIFA rules cannot be applied retrospectively.
“This means Walter Nyamilandu is free to stand again for three terms of 4 years each,” he said.
Kanyenda said previously, a FIFA president and/or presidents of its member national associations could hold office infinitely provided they were re-elected.
“Jules Rimet is FIFA’s longest serving president and was in office for 33 years from 1921 and 1954. Sepp Blatter served 5 terms dating back to 1998 until 2015 clocking 17 years in office.
“His predecessor Joao Havelange was in office for 24 years from 1974 to 1998.
“However, FIFA amended its statutes limiting the term of office to 3 terms of 4 years whether consecutive or not.
“Accordingly, a person can hold office as FIFA president for a maximum of 12 years.”
Asked if the term limitation on terms of office be applied retro actively, Kanyenda said: “No. The term limits set forth in the relevant provisions of the revised FIFA Statutes will only apply to existing members of the existing committees as from the date of completion of their current mandates.
“FAM recently harmonized her statutes in order to mirror the FIFA position. Last December, FAM approved a raft of reforms initiated by FIFA including but not limited to the introduction of term limits.”
He pleaded with the media to report the information accurately to avoid any misunderstanding on social media which may prejudice other candidates.
Seasoned soccer analyst Kaudza Masina also concurred with Kanyenda, saying Nyamilandu is eligible to stand and questioned the integrity of those who are saying he should not.
“What is their basis for saying Walter should not stand? They are wrong because he is allowed by law to stand. If he stands he will simply be fulfilling the law to its fullest.
“Only affilates can stop Walter by not nominating him. But if they nominate him that means he will stand. All these people who are making noise on social media are not affiliates, ” he said.
He said those who are saying Nyamilandu has overstayed, they should also look at aspiring contestant James Mwenda because he too started long time ago.
On his part, Nyamilandu said he was satisfied that his eligibility has been cleared and that it will end confusion and help him make an informed decision.
“It is a positive development that a legal expert has come in to clarify eligibility of all candidates ahead of the FAM elective assembly in December.
“It clears confusion that was there because of misunderstandings since the amended FIFA statutes which FAM adopted will be used for the first time.
“Personally, I am satisfied that the legal statement clears my eligibility. It will help me to make an informed decision.
“A lot of people have been anxious to know where I stand and I will make my position clear in the next few days,” he said.
During his reign, Nyamilandu has improved football infrastructure and structures. Currently, FAM has an office complex at Chiwembe in Blantyre where there’s also a hotel that generates revenue and accommodate players during camping.
He has also managed to win the hearts of the corporate world as companies are coming forth to sponsor football competitions at professional and youth level.
But he has come under criticism for the national team’s failure, having seen the Flames only qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals once in the past 16 years.
Apart from being a member of Fifa Council, Nyamilandu is also an executive committee member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa).Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :