GAME ON! with BENEDICT TEMBO
THAT most leaders of sports associations in Zambia are resisting change is not a fallacious statement.
Some sports administrators have built themselves mausoleums or epitaphs in these associations, figuratively of course, to advance their own interests at the expense of sport.
Consequently, members have been left to pander to the rogue elements of some of these leaders who have become institutions themselves.
Given the monotony in terms of leadership in sports associations, good results among sportsmen and women have been elusive.
Those who have tried to contest elections in these associations have been left bruised by the machinations of the incumbency to count years before they try their luck again.
A few years ago, Shapa Wakungâ€™uma had a shot at the National Olympic Committee of Zambia (NOCZ) executive committee when he contested the position of secretary-general.
Wakunguma, who is director of sport in the Zambia Police Service, was beaten clean by the incumbent, Hazel Kennedy.
I admire the bravery exhibited by Wakungâ€™uma, who offered himself at the altar of change in one of the sports bodies considered an enclave.
Wakungâ€™uma, a senior superintendent in the police, was clearly a victim of a culture of wanting to cling to power and it is very difficult to understand how in the case of the NOCZ, councillors have opted to keep the same people in power almost in perpetuity.
Overstaying in office as is historical in the NOCZ is not healthy for sports development because clinging to power is not doing a sportsperson a favour.
There is need for new ideas which the people who choose to overstay in office to almost becoming part of the letterhead of the institution overlook.
For instance, if NOCZ president Miriam Moyo intends to seek another term of office, what new ideas is she going to offer?
There is a danger in overstaying and one cannot rule out complacency.
There is need to show integrity by not deliberately overstaying and allowing other people with fresh ideas to come in.
The NOCZ is expected to emulate its mother body, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in terms of reforms and desist from selfishness.
Since its reform in the late 90s under Juan Antonio Samaranch, the IOC opened itself up to curtail life-long membership.
In its charter, which is effectively its constitution, the IOC president is elected for a term of eight years renewable once for four years.
Likewise, the duration of the terms of office of the vice-presidents and of the 10 other members of the IOC executive board is four years.
The charter further states that a member may serve for a maximum of two successive terms on the IOC executive board, regardless of the capacity in which he or she has been elected.
These reforms, among others, were to be adopted by member national Olympic committees, including our very own NOCZ, but this is not the case.
In Zambia, sadly, we have seen NOC executive members being at the helm almost in perpetuity to the exclusion of other eligible and competent members.
This type of monopoly of administering sport at the highest level is unhealthy.
Zambia has seen an unprecedented growth since then and has outgrown the individuals who wanted to monopolise its governance.
The same applies to sports associations, which should live beyond its office- holders.
This is why I am pleasantly surprised that Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) president Kalusha Bwalya is seeking re-election next month.
Kalusha has done a lot in terms of rebranding FAZ in particular and Zambian football in general.
He has achieved so much within the 12 years he has been at FAZ, first as vice-president and now as president.
I expected Kalusha to step aside and allow other people to run the race, especially that they will be consulting him as the countryâ€™s undisputed soccer ambassador.
Nobody will take away what Kalusha has done for Zambia – now and in the future.
But for continuity, the 1988 African-footballer-of-the-year should have stepped aside unless he has unfinished business in FAZ.
I will, however, respect his personal decision to run for the presidency since it is his constitutional right.
I will not say anything about Zambia Amateur Athletics Association president Elias Mpondela who has been at the helm for almost 20 years.
I have been trying to understand the problems that have engulfed the Zambia Boxing Federation (ZBF).These problems are now becoming endemic because very few executive committees have not gone through the vote-of-no confidence current ZBF president Thomas Chileshe is facing.
A closer peep into ZBF points to Chileshe being the source of the problem. To end the squabbles, Chileshe must step down and shouldnâ€™t recontest.
The real problem seems to be poor governance or poor administration by the man the ZBF family touted as an angel.
Maybe for the good of the sport, Chileshe should step down and allow other people with passion for boxing like him to take over and end this wrangling â€“ at least for now.
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GAME ON! with BENEDICT TEMBO