Malawi FA president abstains in a controversial Caf vote: Caf  undemocratic nature of voting process criticised

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) president Walter Nyamilandu decided to abstain during a voting process at the Confederation of African Football Congress in Cairo last month because of the undemocratic nature of the voting process.

FAM President Walter Nyamilandu: Abstain
FAM President Walter Nyamilandu: Abstain

The Congress was to elect two of its officials to represent the continent in the newly-created Fifa Council.

According to of September 30 by Gary Al-Smith, Djibouti had proposed to scrap a statute which limits potential candidates for Caf presidency to members of the Caf executive committee exco.

The report said in line with recently adopted Fifa reforms, the Congress had to vote on ending the rule, introduced just four years ago, that restricted potential candidates for the Caf presidency to members of its 15-man executive committee only.

This had originally been seen as an attempt by long-serving president Issa Hayatou to hand pick his successor.

However, Djibouti’s FA proposed that anyone can stand for election as Caf president as long as they are “supported by at least five member associations”.

The vote did not see the light of day as the amendment of Article 18.3 was rejected. The proposal had 16 ‘yes’ votes and 5 abstentions including  Malawi from Walter Nyamilandu.

It is said that all other votes on the day needed a simple majority to pass but Caf, through its General Secretary Hicham El Amrani announced that this vote alone will need a 75% majority. This was seen as a deliberate move to frustrate an outcome of the votes being split between ‘No’ and ‘Abstain’ voters.

The Djibouti proposal also wanted the potential candidate to the Caf throne to have played an active role in football as an official of a member association, during four of the last five years preceding the submission of the candidacy, and they must pass an eligibility check.

Nyamilandu told Nyasa Times that he abstained because the proposed amendment of the statutes was wrongly constructed because it was barring executive members of CAF from standing for the office of the president.

“It was only allowing any other official from the Football Association to stand for the office of the President. This was an error because the ambition of any Executive member is to become a President one day.

“I was in agreement with the idea of not limiting the office of the President to the Executive members, I found it to be restrictive and not appropriate.

“Secondly, I was one of the persons who opposed the amendment of the statutes in Seychelles where before it was open to all and sundry. During that Congress we were overwhelmingly shot down and I subsequently abstained from the vote. I therefore decided this time around to be consistent with my earlier stance on the matter.

“My view was to reject the ratification of the statutes so that CAF could do a  comprehensive revision  of the statutes by adopting to FIFA standard statutes. This could have enabled the Djibouti proposal on eligibility of the candidates to be worded correctly to include every bona-fide official of football,” Nyamilandu said.

The report by, headline ‘General Assembly highlights endemic corruption in African football’, was very scathing in its attack on the whole process.

It said: “Earlier this year, Transparency International’s Global Corruption Report: Sport highlighted how Africa is vulnerable to serious reputational risks across all sports and is already compromised by corruption.

“The Global Corruption Report: Sport provided a global overview of corruption across sport and outlined recommendations from leading experts in the field on what needs to be done. It came at a time when some of the world’s most popular sports, including football and athletics, are mired in corruption scandals.

“…But questions still remain about the undemocratic nature of the entire process. First of all, secret balloting was not allowed. This meant that delegates who did not want to tow the party line on issues were forced to follow the crowd or risk ostracism. The result was that all the agenda voted on saw outcomes that favoured the long-serving CAF boss Issa Hayatou.

The Cameroonian has been in power since 1988 – that’s 28 years of what critics call dictatorship, proven and unproven corruption on a wide scale, and unaccountability.

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