Barely a month since Weight Lifting and Body Building Association of Malawi (WBAM) held Mr Malawi event at Crossroads Hotel, body builders have ganged up against what athletes have branded it ‘untransparent leadership’ by the association top brass.
The body builders voiced their grievances related to the incumbent office bearers in separate interviews with Malawi News Agency (MANA) Wednesday.
According to Zomba based athlete Thoko Kakhongwe also known as Mr Zomba, the top brass of the organisation was not transparent and seem not have their best interest at heart, which is demotivating the athletes.
“Affairs to do with athletes have seriously being ignored completely; I wish I could resign from this career and opt for my old habits. It’s drastic, WBAM needs transformation,” Mr Zomba said.
Kakhongwe came third in the Mr Malawi 2016 competition; he is also a former Mr Weightlifting champion having won the championship for six consecutive times in the country.
He also resented the undemocratic tendencies of the organisation in as far as elections are concerned “The constitution stipulates that there shall be elections every four years, office bearers include, President and Vice President as top most positions.“General Secretary and a Deputy, Treasurer, Chairperson of Coach Committee and or Technical Director. But, sadly up to now no proper elections have been held,” Mr Zomba said.
Veteran practicing body builder, Benny Phiri told MANA that the organization’s future could be bleak because there is poor administration up to the point that events are not properly marketed.
“The way competitions are being organized leaves a lot to be desired. The worst has been the 2016 Mr Malawi tournament where only four competitors turned out to participate due to poor communication”
“Why can’t the organizers borrow a leaf from the latest ‘Ulayaclassics’ event that was held at Bingu International Conventional Centre, it was a well advertised game that saw 30 athletes represented nationally?” Phiri asked.
He said athletes expected the 2016 Mr Malawi Competition to be more organized, by making it an international event.
“We are very devastated because the organizing system is not adhering to principles of this sport, no direction, corrupt, they pick people from the streets and use them to fatten their pockets whenever there is an international function, absolutely lack vision, we are in a sinking boat,” Andrew Cobra Kanyama said.
Meanwhile, in an interest to see their welfare attended to, body builders have petitioned Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) to summon the sitting officials to discuss on pertinent issues.
In a letter addressed to MNCS dated January 18, 2017 seen by MANA, co- signed by Benny Phiri and Isaac Wellington Mwangonde, the athletes have indicated that discussions had failed the two parties hence they were seeking MNCS interventions.
According to the petition, apart from the issues of transparency, poor administration and neglect of athlete’s welfare, it also questions the committees continued sidelining of the body’s founder Isaac Wellington Mwangonde from its meetings.
“The constitution and its articles, how national events are being run,” the letter quotes.
Conquering with other athletes in an interview on Thursday, Mwangonde said it was absurd that current WBAM leadership has chosen to go off-track not as he wished things to be conducted as do other countries on this sporting activity.
“Everything is being flouted; guiding rules and regulations regarding this sport are not being respected. Athletes are supposed to be supported with food, accommodation and transport re-imbursements a thing not being put to practice.”
“None of them had ever been a body builder no wonder they don’t know how hurting it is. I question the criterion they use to vote officials into office. Athletes are the lawful voters to shovel in new office bearers,” Mwangonde enlightened.
However, in response WBAM, General Secretary, Harold Bwezani and Richard Kuwali President expressed ignorance on having received any complaints.
“Surely, I don’t have any issue neither do I know anything as of now,” he said.
In an interview with Central Region Sports Development Officer for MNCS, Isaac Phiri advised the two parties to solve their matters amicably by involving third parties if need rises.
“If athletes are ignored by their mother body, this office may come in and take mediations. But initially we advise the aggrieved parties to speak to officials at WBAM.”
“If not successful, they can procedurally petition this office but ensure that executive committees from other regions are involved too,” advised Phiri adding that seeking assistance is not wrong.
Body building is one of the most exciting sports disciplines youths enjoy participating besides these challenges.
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