GAME ON with BENEDICT TEMBO
FOUR sports associations are this quarter scheduled to hold their elective annual general meetings.
The four are the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ), Netball Association of Zambia (NAZ), the Zambia Boxing Federation (ZBF) and the Zambia Volleyball Association (ZAVA).
However, spotlight is on FAZ where almost the entire executive committee, including its president Kalusha Bwalya are recontesting their positions.
Granted that they all have their constitutional rights to recontest their positions, including aspiring for the superior positions, it is the manner in which they canvass for votes which matters, especially in rural areas.
Candidates are now traversing the breadth and width of the country in search of votes.
For some, it is the first time they are visiting Chipata, Mansa, Solwezi, Mongu and probably Livingstone.
Sadly, they may never visit these areas after being voted into and will only be seen there until the next election.
This translates into an artificial relationship with rural dwellers.
Looking at the profile of some candidates, it is unfair that they promote sweet things to rural people, which they fail to deliver, even when they have been given the vote.
This is time when money changes hands big time as some candidates break their bank accounts for the purpose of getting into FAZ.
Instead of overspending on bribing potential voters, experienced soccer administrators and wealthy people should consider doing more in areas where they are soliciting for votes.
For instance, a team from Lundazi will this year play in FAZ Division One and officials at this outfit do not exactly know what to expect.
I, therefore, expect some candidates to go beyond mere rhetoric by ensuring that they help such a club to come to terms with reality of playing in the second tier of the Zambian Premier League by analysing their budget, source of their income and also looking at their software and hardware.
A discerning official may even look at investment opportunities in the areas they are campaigning by setting up businesses to support such a team, second a qualified coach they will be paying and buying them jerseys.
By the way, has FAZ set up an integrity and ethics committee to monitor how the electorate is being lavished with gifts?
I think FAZ should learn from the FIFA scandals that have so far seen several leading officials, including Sepp Blatter and Michael Platini being suspended for alleged corruption.
Events in Zurich should remind councillors that the corruption some candidates are manifesting while canvassing for votes has no place in football.
Candidates should restrict to their manifestos and avoid touting â€˜moneyfestosâ€™ as campaign tool to hoodwink voters, especially those in rural areas.
In case there is an ethics committee overseeing the campaigns, they ought to prescribe how much a candidate may give the electorate as appreciation for attending their meetings.
The ethics committee should outrightly ban the busing of voters from their areas to Moba Hotel, including accommodating and feeding candidates.
Candidates found doing so must be disqualified and should be handed over to the Anti-Corruption Commission for engaging in electoral malpractices.
By the way, there is a new dimension to the FAZ race by the emergence of Richard Lasky Kazala for the position of vice-president.
At first it was incumbent Boniface Mwamelo who had shown interest in recontesting his position then Pivoty Simwanza joined.
Simwanzaâ€™s joining was widely seen as a preferred vice-president and in Kalusha Bwalyaâ€™s third term and heir to the throne since the 1988 African-Footballer-Of-the-year is said to be considering retiring after 2020.
But the arrival of Kazala has thrown the race wide open as the Chingola businessman-cum-soccer administrator is the one being said to be Kalushaâ€™s anointed candidate for the number two position.
Then there is also Lusaka Dynamosâ€™ chairman Mofya Chisala who has also joined the fray.
My view is that with the race going to the final stretch, candidates should stick to their manifestos and stop claiming to be anointed or using Kalushaâ€™s name.
Also, the issue of camps during campaigns should not arise and I wish Kalusha, the international soccer icon could address this and tell the candidates to be their own.
Kalusha should bring the Nelson â€˜Madibaâ€™ Mandela spirit in local football by ensuring that there are no camps to divide our beautiful game.
If indeed Kalusha will not seek re-election in 2020 although he was widely expected to step down after two terms, he should ensure that he leaves Zambian football in capable hands without fear or favour.
As an iconic figure, Kalusha will always be the countryâ€™s soccer ambassador and will always be consulted where need be.
In the same vein, he should not have â€˜favouritesâ€™ or anointed administrators but work with all and sundry.
GAME ON with BENEDICT TEMBO