Mac Millan Walter Nyamilanu was re-elected for a fourth term as Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president on Saturday evening in a controversial elections held at Sunbird Nkopola Lodge in Mangochi to secure another four years in charge.
Nyamilandu who has run FAM for the last 12 years, was voted in by an overwhelming majority, winning 27 votes of the 36 cast, against two challengers Wilkins Mijiga and Willy Yabwanya Phiri who withrew from the polls after their injunction stopping the elections were lifted and FAM proceeded to hold the polls.
“I’m a happy man after getting a new mandate,” said Nyamilandu, who looked nervous through out the Annual General Meeting which had tight security from police and also his private body guards..
The FAM elections had hit a snag following a ruling by the country’s governing body’s Appeal Committee which declared that the elections be postponed to another date because there is a contravention of FAM statues and in the event disobeying the electoral codes of the organisation.
“We won’t be part of this illegal proceeding,” said Yabwanya.
Mijiga said the whole process was illegal.
“We are surprised with the electoral committee’s decision to go ahead with the polls yet the whole process is illegal. Why are they undermining the orders from the appeals committee? We won’t be part of it,” said Mijiga.
The Appeals Committee which is headed by Supreme Court of Appeal Judge, Lovemore Chikopa in the matter of appeal by Mijiga and Yabwanya Phiri and contender of the office of vice president Tiya Somba Banda against the decision of the FAM Electoral Committeeordered that the elections only proceed upon compliance with the rules and regulations as stipulated in the statues of FAM.
Mijiga, Yabwanya Phiri and Somba Banda complained to FAM Appeals Committee that there was no compliance with Article 22(1) as read with 22(5) of the FAM Statutes to the extent that it has not been shown that the General Secretariat of FAM received a list of names from affiliates pursuant to Article 22(1) comprising 36 names of General Assembly delegates.
The three further complained that this constitutes a flouting of the duties of the Electoral Committee as set out in Articles 2(1) and 6(1) (b), (c), (d ) and (e) of the FAM Electoral Code and that in order for the Appeals Committee, to maintain the integrity of processes of the FAM elections, it must direct that the election only proceeds upon compliance with Article 22(1) and (5) of the FAM Statutes.
The appellants praying to the Appeals Committee claim that since (some) affiliates submitted names and alternatives, the total list exceeds the stipulated 36 and therefore contravenes Article 22 of the FAM electoral Code and that as such the elections must not be held.
In his determination, Justice Chikopa agreed that the elections could not take place as scheduled because FAM flouted the law as set in Article 8 of the FAM Electoral Code and that it will need to submit a new list of names comprising 36 names of the delegates within 15 days from the day of submission.
“What is the significance of the determination?” poses the judge of appeal in his ruling in a matter of fact.
“It means the elections cannot go ahead because a new list (without alternatives) has to be produced and submitted at least 15 days before the Assembly at which elections are to take place,” ruled Chikopa.
But Chikopa said since the world soccer governing body (FIFA) representative who was to oversee the elections, Ashford Mamelodi has already jetted down into the country for the elections he will have to give directions on the way forward as to whether the elections go ahead or be differed until all the issues have been solved.
Said Chikopa: “As of now, let us wait and see. The decision of FIFA may be that either: that the elections be postponed if the decision of the Appeals Committee stand; or that the elections go ahead, if there was a quorum and that the decision of the Appeal Committee is null and void.”
But the learned Supreme Court Judge, who is himself an ardent football fanatic and is popularly known as Midazo in the football circles, said there is a twist to the tale in the whole saga.
“Unfortunately, there seems to be a twist (there is always one with these electoral disputes)” he said adding, “Article 12(1) of the Electoral code states that the Appeal Committee shall comprise 3 members and two substitutes.”
Justice Chikopa therefore said the directions of FIFA are being sought on whether a quorum was formed by the Appeals Committee which only comprised 2 members instead of the stipulated 3.
According to FAM electoral code, Article 22 is stipulate about the delegates to the FAM General Assembly which conducts elections and it requires that the list of 36 names be sent at least 15 days before the date of the Assembly.
The FAM Electoral Committee had previously argued that as they were alternatives, there was no contravention since only 36 delegates would be allowed to which the Appeal Committee has determined that there was a contravention and that the FAM electoral Committee erred.
After taking a High Court injunction stopping the elections, Nyamilandu camp went to challenge and vacated the court order late in the day to proceed with the elections.
Mijiga and Phiri withdrew their candidature, saying they did not want to be party to a “charade”.
Saturday’s FAM elections will go down history as the dirtiest and bloody election in history by the country’s governing body.
Nyamilandu has been at helm as FAM president for the past 12 years and he is the longest serving FAM president in history and if he sails through for more four years, the former University of Malawi FC and Wanderers lanky national team centre back will be one of the world’s longest Football Association president.
Both Mijiga who is an astute marketer and banker and Canada based millionaire, Yabwanya Phiri, are upstarts in Soccer administration at the soccer governing body but had offered a change in leadership and football management in the country and promises to bring the lost glory days to Malawi football.
Nyamilandu says he needs more time to ‘develop’ football in the country and describes this time as ‘a time for harvesting’ in Malawi football.
In his acceptance speech, he said there is “no bad feeling” against any of the associations that did not vote for him or against his competitors.
He said ‘Team Nyamilandu’ had a wonderful campaign, a colourful launch and successful debate.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :